More coming forward claiming identity theft

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Since reporting a story about identity theft at a local Mid-South restaurant, Action News 5 has received several emails and phone calls from other people who have come forward claiming to have also been victims of identity theft.

After eating at an El Porton Restaurant on Germantown Parkway and Highway 64, Bill Thompson is convinced he too may be a victim.

"You don't think it can happen to you.  You try to be pretty vigilant about it.  It was pretty shocking," Thompson said.

Thompson said more than $600 was charged to his account after he and two friends dined out nearly three months ago.

"There were two charges from a Virginia Walmart.  One was for $303.  That was the first charge.  The other was $306. That was the second charge," Thompson said.

Mary Alexander Dawson with El Porton said the restaurant is still conducting its own investigation. Dawson said she is checking with the company that processes the restaurant's credit cards for answers.

Meanwhile, neither Memphis Police nor secret service agents are commenting on their ongoing investigation.

Nancy Crawford with the Better Business Bureau says identity theft is becoming all too common. Thieves use a popular tactic called skimming. It is where they use a handheld device to swipe a card and record information.

"Someone standing close by may even use a cell phone to capture the information you're entering into the machine," Crawford said.

Crawford said in addition to keeping a close eye on your cards at all times and checking your bank statements often, using credit instead of a debit may not be a bad idea.

"You do have some more consumer protection with credit cards that you don't have with debit cards," Crawford said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, out of four El Porton locations in the Memphis area, there has only been one complaint filed in the past three years.

They could not tell us which location or what type of complaint.

Click here to e-mail Jamel Major.