Accused Credit Card Crooks Caught

Posted at 9:20 PM, Apr 24, 2013

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Kent County deputies busted four men accused of using stolen credit cards.

It happened this afternoon outside the Meijer gas station on Plainfield Avenue.

“Internet crimes and personal information crimes are becoming more and more prevalent,” Jon Hess, Kent County Undersheriff said.

Anyone with a credit card is a potential target. “Credit theft is a crime that you see probably a lot more often than people really realize,” Hess exclaimed.

“They get their identification stolen, their credit card stolen, there’s several ways that they can misuse the credit, and it does happen quite a bit,” he explained.

Stealing card numbers is easier then you might think. One case in Wyoming involved a group of crooks from Illinois installed their own credit card readers on the front of an ATM and gas station pumps.

One swipe from a potential victim is a gift to scammers. Account information was transferred to pre-paid gift cards to hide the theft.

Another major case in West Michigan involved several men from out of state in March 2011.

An observant Meijer employee tipped off deputies. That led to a car full of gift card packaging and a magnetic card reader.

“They had the technology to take these numbers and put them somehow on magnetic strips and then utilize them to buy gift cards,” Hess said after that investigation.

Hess says it’s common for credit card thieves to target big box stores. They can go under the radar and often aren’t asked for identification when they swipe the credit cards.

Wednesday afternoon, deputies took 4-people from the Detroit area into custody outside the Meijer on Plainfield Avenue.

They’re being questioned, but early indicators point to a similar scheme.

It’s something you can help prevent.

“Checking your bank records, making sure you’re checking your accounts and the balances, anything that you notice not familiar on a statement that you would get,”

Hess suggests checking your bank and any credit card statements on a regular basis.

Those four suspects taken in by police today have yet to be charged. FOX 17 will let you know what comes of it.