Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and members of the PCSO Criminal Investigations Bureau will be on hand tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Queen Valley Community Center to talk to area residents about identity theft and credit/debit card fraud.
The investigators will give residents additional information to help protect themselves against fraud.
On Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office began receiving numerous reports of fraudulent credit and debit card use/transactions from residents in the Queen Valley and Gold Canyon areas. As of last Wednesday, the PCSO office had received 154 fraudulent credit/debit card reports.
According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, investigators found that the victims had all used their credit or debit cards at either Bashas’, AJ’s Fine Foods and/or Food City locations to make purchases. The fraudulent charges to victims accounts are occurring in Arizona, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, North Carolina, Italy, France, Canada and Mexico.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has been working with Federal, State, and City law enforcement agencies on this case as it has become International. The FBI has taken the lead in the investigation.
The Bashas’ Family of Stores has cooperated with investigators. The store became the victim of a cyber attack which began in June or July of 2012 and was done by suspects who were able to gain access to parts of their security system used to capture payment information from customers. The highly-sophisticated piece of malware software has been identified and contained. Bashas’ will be posting information related to this security breach at all of their stores to notify customers.
“Citizens are urged for their protection to monitor their bank records and transactions as often as possible,” Babeu said. “While in public, be alert of the people around you. Do not permit your cards to be removed from your line of sight. Do not share your personal information with anyone. Do not write your credit card numbers down on any paperwork. Consider carrying your credit and debit cards in protective foil lined sleeves to block / disable the RFI chips and magnetic strips from being read by remote scanners.”
To report fraudulent activity on your credit and debit accounts, please call the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency phone number at 1-800-420-8689.
The meeting in Queen Valley is open to the public.