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Larimer County Sees Surge In Credit Card Fraud

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Someone is going on a spending spree with other people’s credit card accounts in Larimer County. There are more than 300 victims in the town of Loveland alone.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said they aren’t sure what’s causing the increase, but a formal investigation is under way.

“The Sheriff reminds citizens to be cautious when sharing personal information, especially when responding to emails or text messages,” John Schulz with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Financial institutions never request personal information through email or text message unless contacted first.

“Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact and are sure you know who you’re dealing with,” Schulz said.

“There were a number of transactions in Florida, Walmart and some other locations in Florida, and we had not been in Florida. We didn’t make those transactions. They were about $50 each, eight to ten of them, I think,” said fraud victim Jeff Fisher.

Fisher is among hundreds who had their credit card numbers stolen in Northern Colorado.

“The number of cases right now is exceeding 300. They appear to be rapidly approaching 350,” said Loveland Police Dept. Lt. Tim Brown.

That is just in the past ten days. Overwhelmed with credit card fraud cases, police in Loveland said it’s not yet clear when or how the credit card numbers were stolen, or when they began to be used in other states.

“Transactions that are occurring literally everywhere in the country. Many of them are actually being recorded internationally. We’ve had victims that have suffered as few as a few dollars all the way into the thousands,” said Brown.

Scammers have posed as banks representatives, Internet service providers (ISPs), and government agencies to get people to reveal their Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, account numbers, and other identifying information.

Police said the stolen card numbers being used are for both credit and debit cards. There are apparently hundreds of victims in Larimer and Weld Counties.

“Before you share any personal information, confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization. Check an organization’s website by typing its URL in the address line, rather than cutting and pasting it,” Schultz said.

Companies usually post scam alerts when their name is used improperly.

Those who think they’ve been a victim of credit card fraud should contact their local law enforcement agency. For further tips on preventing identity theft visit the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office website at http://larimersheriff.org/site-page/identity-theft-prevention .

Anyone with information regarding credit card fraud is asked to call Larimer County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 416-1985 or Crime Stoppers at (970) 221-6868 and remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward.

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