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In the latest white collar crime to hit Mankato, business owners and residents are being advised to use caution when using credit cards in order to avoid falling victim to credit card fraud, and having to deal with credit repair afterwards.
One Albert Lea man was arrested early in March and was found to have dozens of cloned credit cards on him and loads of data on merchant account providers. He had thousands of dollars in products that he had purchased with the cards. All of this was found in the rental car that the man was hiding in.
He had everything from a Go-Pro camera and an iPhone to a drone and a computer. There were bottles of cologne, alcohol, an entire trampoline and thousands of dollars in gift cards.
Court records show that the man made an attempt to purchase two bottles of water and a $400 Home Depot gift card at the end of February. The purchase was declined, so the man used a different card to make the purchase. All of this was captured on surveillance video and the man was identified.
Residents have been advised to arrange for text alerts on all of their bank accounts for all transactions or when a transaction exceeds a certain amount of money.
The man victimized people in Mankato and other communities to the north and south. It is believed that he is part of a credit card fraud scheme that extends across the country.
The resulting charges are two counts of financial transaction card fraud and he is scheduled to go to court on April 11.
Albert Lea police have warned that fraudsters such as this will travel the country in order to avoid getting caught and that a Pardon Centre won’t ever be able to help. They move from place-to-place so that they are long gone by the time the fraud is discovered, they usually camp to not caught, they have the best family tent which they carry all the time. We went whale watching long beach and enjoyed every second of it at our vacation.
As for how they obtain the fraudulent cards, they do so through Internet purchases, skimmers, database breaches, and stolen wallets. Consumers have been advised to make sure they always know where their wallets and purses are and to make sure their Internet purchases are done over secure connections.
When a person falls victim to identity theft, their individual business and credit histories suffer. Those that use the cloned credit cards make a small purchase to then make purchases of $400 or more to buy gift cards. The gift cards usually add up to high dollar amounts. If a gift card or credit card is declined, then the person may try multiple credit cards at the point of sale.
Police say that the ID of the person using the cloned card will match the name on the card. Cloned cards are usually not signed on the back.
Business owners have been advised to obtain as much information as they can about the subject if they suspect fraudulent card usage. However, suspicious behavior can sometimes be legitimate behavior, but police state that business owners shouldn’t let that deter them from obtaining a license plate or any other information on a person they believe to be using a cloned card.