Thief Nabbed After Shopping Spree With Stolen Credit Card Information

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Credit card numbers were stolen and cashed in without the victims ever losing their physical cards.

Delaware County deputies say they busted a man for doing this only after an alert clerk figured out his scheme.

Detectives say the man they arrested is part of a much larger scam to steal people's credit card information and ultimately steal their money.

Because the theft is digital, it is much tougher for the victims to know they've been hit. The money is usually put onto gift cards like GreenDot and PayPal.

Delaware County deputies say there is a growing problem of people stealing credit card information without the cardholder ever knowing.

"A lot of these are being scanned at restaurants, at fast food places. That's where it starts at. Somebody used your credit card and when you're not paying attention, they scan your credit card in a little hand-scanner. Now they have your credit card number," said Delaware County Detective Chuck Gannon.

Once they have that number, detectives say the criminals transfer it onto another card and go shopping. They say one man did that in Delaware County in search of cigarettes.

After completing 17 separate transactions at a Pilot gas station in Sunbury on Wednesday, totaling more than $900 in merchandise, 10TV learned the man tried to use the card at two other gas stations unsuccessfully. On Friday, he tried again and was eventually caught.

"They pick it up by watching the last four (digits) of the credit card, so when they scan the transaction, the last four that shows up on their machine should match the card. In this instance, it was a clerk that was entering the number into the system manually and it didn't match," said Detective Gannon.

This latest arrest netted a stack of gift cards and a slew of receipts. Money that was once in the pocket of unsuspecting people is now evidence of a crime.

"What we're finding more and more is that these people, they still actually have their physical card, so it's nothing that's being taken from them," said Detective Gannon.

If you have a credit card, authorities urge you to protect your information. They say it is important to keep a close eye on your cards. If you are concerned someone stole your information, immediately check with your credit card company.