The Ohio Attorney General’s tips for avoiding scams
• Closely watch your bank statements and track debits closely. Watch for any unauthorized withdrawals or suspicious activity. Also watch your credit card statements for signs of skimming.
• Use one ATM and one particular gas pump; it will be easier to track which machine has the skimmer if you are scammed. Try to use an ATM that is located in a very public place or is located inside a bank lobby. Scammers are less likely to tamper with machines in those locations.
• When using your bank card, choose the “credit card” option instead of “debit card.” It will be more difficult for scammers to make unauthorized purchases without your PIN.
• Take a few seconds to look at the card reader before inserting your card. If it looks different or suspicious for any reason, don’t use that machine.
If you believe you are the victim of a skimming scam, notify your local law enforcement and contact your bank/credit card company immediately.
A pair of Columbus men who allegedly used personal information from consumers to create hundreds of fake credit and debit cards may be part of a larger ring, officials said.
Both men were indicted this week in Warren County after they were arrested at the Franklin Walmart after they allegedly bought about $2,400 in merchandise and gift cards with credit and debit cards they created using stolen bank account information, according to Prosecutor David Fornshell.
Mohamed B. Jalloh, 24 and Shawn L. McCoy, Jr., 19, both of Columbus, were indicted on several charges involving stolen and forged credit cards.
Fornshell said the two allegedly obtained credit and debit card numbers and then used some sort of equipment to make the fake cards or at least use the bank information to obtain the cards. He said he is not certain where they obtained the numbers, but since many different banks were involved it doesn’t appear to be an inside bank job.
Alert cashiers apparently noticed that the men were using numerous different bank cards at the self check-out to purchase mainly gift cards. When police were summoned, they allegedly found Jalloh made 14 purchases totally $1,373 with fake credit cards and McCoy purchased 11 items totalling $1,060, according to Fornshell.
“Collectively, when police were able to catch them doing this, they had 121 cards, that were these recoded cards bearing stolen credit card account information,” he said.
Fornshell said by purchasing the gift cards, there was less chance that someone would report a loss on their card, before they could get the cash through the gift card.
The Consumer Sentinel Network of the U.S. Department of Justice reported in July that the total amount of credit card fraud reported worldwide had reached $5.55 billion and counterfeit credit cards were the highest percentage of all types of credit card fraud at 37 percent. The median amount stolen for credit card fraud was $399.
Officials in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office said they are aware of these types of cases and the easiest way for criminals to get credit and debit card information is through sophisticated “skimming devises” crooks attach to gas pumps and ATMs.
Fornshell said the pair face a maximum of four years in prison if they are found guilty on all four felony-five counts. He said the case however could be much bigger than the Franklin Walmart.
“We believe these guys are part of a larger ring,” he said.