3/23 UPDATE:REQUEST FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
The Big Bear Sheriff’s Station continues to receive a high volume of reports of fraudulent credit card use. They are currently working with a Specialized Division of the Sheriff’s Department and financial institutions including banks and credit card companies to pinpoint the source of the fraud. If you live in or recently visited the Big Bear area and have been a victim of fraudulent charges on your bank or credit card, you are urged to contact the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station to make a report. Reported information greatly assists them as they develop investigative leads and identify suspects. The following information will aid in the investigation:
• Where have you recently used your bank/credit card in Big Bear?
• What type of card was compromised? (i.e., ATM card, debit + credit card, credit card only)
• Is there a PIN associated with your card?
• Was your card used to fraudulently withdraw money from an ATM? If so, where and what time?
• Was your card used to make an online purchase? If so, what business(es) were purchases made from?
To make a report, please contact the local non-emergency dispatch line at (909) 866-7581.
Big Bear, CA – The Big Bear Sheriff’s Station has recently received numerous calls for service reporting unauthorized and fraudulent use of credit cards. Deputies are working diligently with the Big Bear Detective Bureau in an ongoing investigation to identify the source of the fraud. It is believed a skimming device is being used to capture credit and debit card information from unsuspecting victims. The unidentified suspects are then using victim information to fraudulently withdraw money from bank accounts and to make online charges.
Skimmers are malicious card readers that record data from the magnetic strip on a credit or bank card. They can be attached to legitimate payment terminals or used wirelessly to gather data from credit card swipes. Criminals then use the stolen data to make fraudulent charges either online or with a counterfeit credit card.
Victims of card skimming are often unaware of the theft until they receive a billing statement or overdraft notice from the bank. It is important for consumers to monitor checking and credit card accounts online at least weekly and to immediately notify the bank or credit card issuer of suspicious activity. Fraud alerts can be placed on individual credit reports by contacting TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a consumer can request any one of these three national credit reporting companies to put a fraud alert on their credit report and they must notify the other two companies. An initial fraud alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed at its expiration. Contact information for credit reporting companies is listed below:
Victims are also urged to report skimming incidents to their local law enforcement agency. To make a report with the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station, please call (909) 866-0100.