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Red Deer police warn of debit-machine fraud risk


Red Deer City RCMP are warning Red Deer shoppers their debit card information may have been stolen or may still be at risk.

Shoppers using debit cards at a variety of Red Deer businesses between August and December have reported extra charges on their bank statements after using debit machines.

RCMP said they have received several complaints about bank card fraud from people who are still in possession of their bank cards.

RCMP Cpl. Sarah Knelsen said debit machines have been altered to allow thieves to steal bank card information when shoppers enter their bank card personal identification number (PIN) to pay for purchases. The stolen information is then used to clone the bank cards for use in the United States, particularly New York.

“You’re going to see charges from the United States appearing on your bank statement because in the United States you don’t need a chip in your debit card. You can still just swipe it,” said Knelsen on Tuesday.

“We used to see a lot of this stuff happening a few years ago before the PIN numbers and chips. Since you have the chip in your card, it’s very hard for fraudulent use to be done.”

Now criminals have come up with a way to steal information but it can’t be used in Canada, she said.

RCMP believe compromised debit machines are still in use in some businesses in Red Deer. Police have seized at least one of the machines.

Police cannot say where the machines were in use nor how many debit cards were cloned.

Knelsen said many people are reporting the fraudulent card activity to their banks instead of the police.

“We don’t know the extent. It’s still being investigated by banks on their end to see where the trail leads.”

RCMP advise people to contact their bank immediately if their bank card has been fraudulently used and to report the fraud to the Red Deer City RCMP complaint line at 403-343-5575.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

 

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