UPDATED Thursday, July 26, 2012--5:10p.m.
MADISON--"About a half dozen victims now, all live within a few blocks of one another," said Joel DeSpain, PIO for the Madison Police Department. Criminals have taken residents' personal information--and used it to take out credit cards."We know that in a couple of cases the perpetrators are in Texas or in Arizona," said DeSpain. "At least that's where these credit cards were taken out."
DeSpain said there is a limited amount Madison police can do, but they are working with federal authorities. "We don't have the jurisdiction to go to Texas or Arizona, nor do we have the resources, so we're going to have to really rely on the federal authorities to take the ball from here," he said.
DeSpain said they're not sure how the criminals got the personal information. But officials do encourage you to protect your's--so this doesn't happen to you. "They can establish new credit, new extensions of credit, take out different credit cards from major credit card companies or just individual department store credit cards," described Michelle Reinen, the director for the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
That's why you should safeguard items like your social security number, driver's license number, full name, date of birth, bank account information--as well as other sensitive documents.
And be vigilant with your information when on the internet. "With Wi-Fi you want to set up as secure a system as you can," she said. "So if you have your own, secure it so your neighbors can't tag on and use it. But if you're using a library, make sure you're going to secure sites, you're cleaning out the cache after you're done and making sure you're logging completely out of wherever you were."
We're told the crooks used the cards to purchase items from retailers like Victoria's Secret, Macy's, Best Buy and Walmart.
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012 --- 11:13 a.m.
Incident Report from the Madison Police Department:
Incident Type: Fraud
Incident Date: 07/25/2012 - 10:40 AM
Address: Littlemore Dr./Golden Maple Rd./Shady Leaf Rd.
Details: The Madison Police Department has taken a number of reports regarding a fraud scheme where out-of-state criminals are using the personal information of Madison residents to take out credit cards. In many cases, the crooks have run up thousands of dollars in charges at places like Macy's, Victoria's Secret, Best Buy, Dillard's, and Walmart.
One victim, a 34-year old woman, said someone in Texas used her name and personal information to open up 7 credit cards. On July 16th she began receiving letters and statements from credit companies. Charges on the fraudulent cards totaled nearly $20,000.
This victim, and several other victims, all live in the same east Madison area on streets to include Littlemore Dr., Golden Maple Rd., and Shady Leaf Rd. It is not known why there is this victim cluster, and the MPD is limited in what it can do to track down potential criminals because of jurisdictional boundaries and resources.
However, victims are encouraged to contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), funded in part by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
They may also continue to contact the MPD, and we will work with federal authorities on these cases.