BONDURANT – A massive wave of credit card fraud has hit central Iowa – and one small town in particular.
Officials say to be careful when using credit or debit cards at gas pumps, ATM machines and even inside convenience and department stores. That’s because in just the past three days, 16 cases of fraud have been reported in Polk County, most of them from the City of Bondurant.
“To have 16 reports in three days of fraudulent activity is not normal, especially in a small community like Bondurant,” said Sgt. Brandon Bracelin of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“If suspects get your credit card information, they can make a duplicate card, where you wouldn’t even know that you’re missing a card,” Sgt. Bracelin said. “They have a duplicate card that they’ve generated and made up and they can use it in a department store, gas pump, or whatnot – just like you would a regular credit card.”
Sgt. Bracelin also said they are investigating whether or not this fraudulent activity is coming from skimming devices or if there have been breaches in credit card security at certain stores and businesses.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who sees suspicious activity to report it to their local law enforcement immediately.
Authorities say one way to protect yourself and be preemptive about credit card fraud in these situations is stay vigilant. If machines seem broken or tampered with, do not use them. They say a great alternative is to avoid paying at the pump and using ATM machines, and to just go inside.