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A bookstore in South Africa. A clothing store in Canada. A pharmacy in Florida. A newspaper in South Carolina.

These are just a few of the places that took credit and debit card orders from scores of Lincoln consumers since Friday.

Problem is, none of the account holders wanted anything from those places.

More than $14,000 in unauthorized purchases were reported to Lincoln police from Friday to Monday by account holders at more than a dozen banks, Officer Katie Flood said. The dollar value is based only on reports that included details of the unauthorized purchases. Many did not, Flood said Monday.

She said the department's technical investigations unit had taken reports from 36 account holders since Friday afternoon.

No. 37 called the Journal Star moments later.

Jeremy Wallasky, 28, said a fraud investigator from U.S. Bank called him Saturday afternoon to ask about a $196 clothing purchase made with his debit card in New York City that same day.

Just before the time of the New York purchase, Wallasky said, he'd bought some groceries at Russ's Market.

The bank noticed, called him, asked if he'd made the East Coast purchase and declined the transaction when Wallasky said he had not.

"I was shocked," Wallasky said.

He said he appreciated how quickly his bank detected the odd purchase, and said he'll be more cautious when making online purchases in the future.

But Flood said investigators don't know yet how whoever is using the credit and debit cards got the numbers. None of the reports involve the physical loss of a card.

"I haven't heard a theory," Flood said Monday afternoon.

She encouraged residents to double-check their account activity and report suspicious activity immediately to their banks.

Flood said there's no reason to believe the credit and debit card number theft reports from this weekend are connected to the arrests last week of two Lincoln residents suspected of stealing credit card numbers to make unauthorized online purchases.

Jesse E. Kipf and Persephone T. Nguyen were arrested following what police say was a botched effort to pick up a FedEx package containing two radar detectors they had delivered to an unsuspecting Lincoln homeowner after they ordered it with a stolen credit card number.

A probable cause affidavit for Kipf's arrest says police were allowed by Nguyen to search a laptop computer found in Kipf's hotel room. A folder on the computer's hard drive contained the names of 26 people, along with their addresses, phone numbers, credit card or debit numbers and three-digit security codes, the affidavit said.

Reach Cory Matteson at 402-473-7438 or cmatteson@journalstar.com.

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