Jonesboro police investigating string of bank card frauds

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The Jonesboro Police Department recently took down reports on several cases of unauthorized credit and debit card usage.

Customers at the Northeast Arkansas Federal Credit Union have been some of the targets. Six people filed police reports Monday after finding illegal transactions on their bank cards.

"As is common for financial institutions who offer debit card services, occasionally that information either on the retailer end or the originating end can become compromised," said Steve Purtee, the president and CEO of the NEA Federal Credit Union.

Purtee says the six customers who reported to police did the right thing, kicking off a process to recover their losses from the unauthorized transactions.

"The retailers are doing everything within their measures to safeguard the information, and then also, on the back side, the financial institutions are safeguarded as well," Purtee said. "So hopefully the middle person, the consumer, is protected with both of those angles."

When an unusual activity is detected, however, Purtee says security measures can alert the credit union or the customer.Two people discovered purchases from Guatemala after failing to access their cards.

"We, therefore, blocked all activities relative to those transactions," he explained. "What we will also do is we will contact the member."

Having the most accurate, up-to-date contact information is key. Purtee says that allows the credit union to get in touch with customers readily, discuss reissuance of any cards and encourage them to file police reports.

"The first that we want to do is get an investigative process begun to determine where the origination is occurring so that not only our customers can be helped but hopefully other consumers as well," Purtee said. "Once we get the police report, we immediately credit the member for the fraudulent or unauthorized activity on their account."

Purtee says financial institutions can normally cover a customer's losses, but many banks have a bond insurance program that can be accessed for liability or any fraudulent activities that may occur.

Sgt. Lyle Wateworth with Jonesboro Police, meanwhile, advises victims to file a report. He says people should check their bank accounts at least twice a week to monitor transactions and spot fraud in advance.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.