You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

Saline man's debit card used 11 times by identity thief in Texas Walmart stores

By Kyle Feldscher

A 48-year-old Saline man became a victim of identity theft after his debit card was used 11 times totaling more than $1,000 without his permission in Texas last week.

The man was contacted by KeyBank representatives on Nov. 18 and was told five or six charges had been made on his debit card earlier that day which they deemed suspicious, according to Saline police.

When the man checked his account online later that day, he discovered a total of 11 charges had been made at Walmart stores in Texas totaling $1,035.92, according to police.

The man said he had not been to Texas in a number of years, according to police. Most of the purchases were about $100, with the smallest purchase at $20, according to police.

The incident is still under investigation.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.

I used my debit card one time last week to buy a coffee at a truck stop in ohio and the next day I got $800 in charges on it.but luckily I called and checked my balance that day and saw the charges and they were still pending . had to get a debit card. but the banks need to get a better system.I wonder if anyone is going after these people.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 11:04 p.m.

The only time we've had this happen was when the credit union we'd been members of for some 30 odd years, gave a cash advance in response to a phone call for $11,000. They had three phone numbers of our they could have called, they had records that we had NEVER asked for a cash advance and, when reporting it to the AA police, I met a woman who belonged to the same credit union whose checking account had been tapped and the detective the two of us spoke with told us there was another member who had just reported her savings account had been raided. Needless to say, the first stop the next morning was the credit union where I loudly told the teller I was closing all our accounts and why and asked who had approved this fraud and how they were going to rectify it, pointing out that no one had checked with us, no one had considered our previous record with them and since I was one of three known victims of their carelessness, I would suggest that anyone standing in the room cancel their business with the credit union before they became a target. I found out about the problem by getting a cheerful letter from the credit union thanking me for taking a cash advance and I had time to contact the two recipients of my generosity - two credit card companies - and explain the problem to them and tell them there was no way they were getting any money from me to cover some stranger's debts. The credit union neglected to send a letter of apology for their screw up and we have delighted in warning folks since then about the way this outfit does business.


Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

My sister in law's credit card was stolen when her Pay Pal account was hacked last week. So, maybe my card-and maybe if the Saline man uses Pay Pal-was stolen via Pay Pal. But when I called to inquire they claimed their system is never hacked.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

I still maintain that using the same kind of ID injected tags that are used to identify dogs and cats would be a boon to humans. Just wave your wrist at the ATM or a scanner in a bank or store and the information is read. No way to charge something to another person if you're ID says who you are. A tiny little chip could carry your important information - think how easily people could be identified if they couldn't tell police or hospitals who they were. Add a GPS to it and folks who wander off because of mental problems or injury could be tracked easily. It's so small you wouldn't even notice it. I have never been able to feel the chips our dogs have had inserted.


Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

I think I might run (not walk) to my Vet's office and have a chip put in.


Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Guess I won't be shopping at Walmart then.


Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 2:04 a.m.

So sorry for the victim, and good Job Key Bank employees! I bank at KEY! This thief wouldn't be able to make a $100 purchase on my credit/debit card. I pay my bills by check, and make purchases with cash. Thinking smart or not, my habit!


Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

Slow news day - this happens every day.


Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

Should we call the police when this happens? I thought banks compiled the info, handled the fraud cases and would contact the police as needed. I wonder if Walmart's database has been breached. Did the Saline man shop at a local Walmart? Our credit card was used last week in Louisiana at a Walmart after I made a purchase the week before at a local Walmart. I never shop at Walmart but this one item wasn't found at another store. Or it's just a coincidence that his card and mine were used at Walmart. My info could have been stolen by anyone in person at a store, through a store's database, because of an online purchase, or because of a scanner attached to a gas pump/ATM machine that someone attached, or because someone video taped/used a camera to record my number as I used the card. These stories have been in the news. We've all read stories about how stores' or websites' databases were hacked or how scanning devices are attached to ATM/gas pump readers. There was a story last week in the Detroit Free Press about a McDonald's worker in Oakland working in a drive through who had a scanning device that could read the information from the black strip on the back of credit cards. She was stealing the info and selling it for $50 per card to someone who would make up credit cards with the info. And someone can write down the credit information. But rarely does a cashier write down the number on a credit card slip or handle the credit card any longer since most check-outs require the customer to swipe the card. Hence, the reason they also don't ask for ID. Apparently, it's no longer about making sure your wallet isn't stolen. It's about checking your online bank statement every few days for transactions and notifying the bank when there are questionable charges. .

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

Another measure to use is to have your bank send you a "text" automatically every time your card is used for a transaction over $1.00. (most don't allow any lower then that amount) I have this set on all cards. I admit it can become annoying, however I would much rather know immediately if my bank account is being emptied right away then wait a month or two for the bank to get to the bottom of it. If your "debit" card is used fraudulently the bank investigates the matter first. They don't immediately credit the money back. They are checking to make sure it was actually fraud and not you trading credit cards with a friend and going on a shopping spree or something of the likes. The faster I know the faster I can call the bank and have an immediate stop placed on that card. I also get e-mail alerts daily as to what was bought and deposited. There are different rules for Credit Cards. I just know with a Credit Card I am not responsible for any more the $50 in any situation. Debit cards whether they carry the Visa/MC logo or not you could be out alot of money if you do not report it in a timely manner. The fine print in your cardholder agreement will tell you how your particular bank governs these as it is called. I know one more thing from a younger brother doing it to my mother. The bank found out she knew it was him and gave her a choice. Press charges or take the loss. You might want to think about this when you have teenagers around. My brother was flipping burgers for three months to pay her back.

City Confidential

Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

There must have been some kind of database breach because my credit card, my parents' totally unrelated credit card, and at least one of my friends' unrelated credit cards were all used to make purchases at Texas or Mississippi Walmarts in the last few days. $600, $200 and $200. Watch your statements!

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

If it's being done by an employee, the police may take a litttle time but they will catch the person. It will be a simple process of elimination if it's an inside job. Walmart does document every transaction with a unique number. A name will surely keep coming up that has not been eliminated. Records of who worked on what register at what time and what day are matched to a digital video recording of every transaction. Those little black bulbs you see above every register in the store are not decorations.


Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

Do you shop at local Walmarts? Isn't it strange that they all shopped at Walmarts?

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

I don't understand why in this day and age a PIN number is not required to use a debit card when the purchaser requests that it be put through as a credit transaction. Or why when I use a credit card in addition to my signature a PIN number is not required. I honestly believe this would cut out the fraud factor in 99% of cases. Somehow this man's debit card number wound up in texas. Then probably a simple request by the perp to put it through as a credit transaction eliminates the need for a PIN number. I write in the signature panel of every card I carry "ask for ID" and it is ignored with the transaction being processed anyway. The technology is there, just do it already.


Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

Yes, the agreements with Mastercard, Visa (maybe others?) also mean those transactions made in 'credit' mode are now covered by the protection that a normal Visa credit card offers for example. The difference is that the funds are withdrawn immediately, and you don't get it back until it's settled, which I don't know how long that is. With a true credit card, you are not responsible for most if not all of the charges.

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

This advice to place "Ask for ID" came from both my personal bank and card issuers. It is a deterrent for a person who my get a hold of my card from using it. I also work in two establishments that take MC/Visa and do take the time to look at the signature panel when a card is handed to me. Per the policy of both employers if I ask for ID and the person handing the card refuses to produce it, I do not have to process the transaction. However in one of these establishments the card is never handed to me and I have no clue if someone is slipping an electronically duplicated card through the card processor. A PIN known only by the account holder would stop this card duplication issue dead in its tracks. Only a signature is currently needed for a credit transaction. I am required to ask for ID if a person hands me a card with a defective magnetic strip. When someone walks up to me and asks me to process their debit card as a credit transaction I have no way of knowing if that card is being used fraudulently unless I do ask for ID. In the united states if you use your debit card no matter how the transaction is processed you can lose up to $500 or more if it is found that you could have reported a lost card and did not do it timely. An actual credit card has a personal liability of $50 maximum in any case. There is no additional benefit under US laws if your debit card is processed as a credit transaction. That is entirely up to the issuing bank and their policys. Adding a PIN feature to any type of card transaction would eliminate a whole lot of fraud. In europe it is my understanding they have already started doing this and it will eventually wind up here. If someone gets your pin number either you gave it to them, or the security programmer from the bank is dishonest. Your local bank does not even know your PIN number for your debit card. This information is all encrypted. I just don't understand why this was not done years ago. Debit and Credit Cards are no


Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

Because there are contracts with MC and Visa regarding these transactions. Your contract with any Visa or MC says you MUST sign your card. It does not say you can put "ask for ID' and it will not be accepted. Europe is far more advanced in their cards than the US. Advice for all is to NEVER use your debit card for purchases. A credit card gives you a higher level of protection legally. Most credit card issuers will not hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions, but legally can only make it a maximum of $50. In 2006, my credit card number was used online at a Best Buy type store for about $3000. One call to the issuer and it became their issue to deal with. On the flip side, in the late 90's I had a roommate who stole a check, and had new ones printed. He used it for 3-4 days before a check of mine went NSF. I had to fill out police reports in multiple jurisdictions to where the crimes took place. The check was stolen in Ann Arbor, purchases were made in Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Twp, and Pittsfield Twp. The way he was discovered was he used a check to pay for an oil change. The oil change place had his license plate number registered to a car owned by his parents.


Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

Slow news day? This kind of thing happens all the time and never makes news. It happened to me much worse than this guy. Why didn't I make the news?


Sat, Nov 26, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

No,I don't live in Saline. LOL,I guess that's it!


Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

Maybe you don't live in Saline.