Scam Victim: 'I'm afraid to use my card now' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Scam Victim: 'I'm afraid to use my card now'

Posted: Updated:

LAFAYETTE, WALKER COUNTY (WRCB)- It turns out a debit card scam in North Georgia might be more of a widespread problem than initially thought.

Eyewitness News has learned federal investigators are involved with fraud cases, reported in North Georgia. And now, even some of the banks are speaking out!

Channel 3 initially received complaints from banking customers in LaFayette, some saying their accounts have been completely drained.

After talking with LaFayette police, it appears this is the work of organized criminals.

"It's frustrating that your information's vulnerable," says Tina Suggs.

Suggs banks with Cohutta Banking Company in LaFayette. Wednesday, two charges were made to her account out of New York.

"Immediately I canceled my card and as soon as the bank opened at 8 o'clock I called the bank," Suggs says. "And, you know, they were all over it."

The WRCB Facebook page received a flood of reports from customers, claiming their accounts were hacked after using their debit cards.

For Tina and other victims, the timing is no coincidence.

"The banks were gonna be closed on Thursday, a little less likely that, you know, we're gonna be able to get in there and get answers quick," Suggs says. "So probably somebody that knows what they're doing."

LaFayette police echo that thought. They believe someone stole info from the company that handles the card transactions and say it is not tied to one store.

They have heard of fraud reports coming in from Rossville, Trion and Chickamauga.

In the meantime, local banks are speaking out.

In a release sent to the Channel 3 Newsroom, Cohutta Banking Company states: "We are investigating the situation and have reported the incident to Visa, who will investigate further. We reissued new debit cards to all affected customers on Wednesday. Based on our research, we also reissued debit cards to all customers who might have been affected by the incident."

"I'll get my money back, but that's not the point," Suggs says. "The point is that I'm afraid to use my card now."

Police say charges have also been reported in Canada and Mexico, which is why the G.B.I. and F.B.I. are now investigating the case.

Police urge victims to contact law enforcement and file a report.

[READ MORE: 3 On Your Side: Lafayette shoppers puzzled by holiday hacking]

FULL STATEMENT FROM COHUTTA BANKING COMPANY:

"Customers in the LaFayette area began contacting us on Wednesday, regarding fraudulent transactions on their accounts. We are investigating the situation and have reported the incident to Visa, who will investigate further. We reissued new debit cards to all affected customers on Wednesday. Based on our research, we also reissued debit cards to all customers who might have been affected by the incident. 

As an ongoing precaution and in order to minimize the impact of potential fraud, customers should look at their bank statements as soon as they arrive. Or, better yet, review their account frequently via online banking or by phone. They should promptly report any unauthorized transaction to the bank. Quick attention to the problem may help the bank locate the source of the compromise and give law enforcement authorities a head start on stopping the thief." - Tonia Kendrick, Executive Vice President, Cohutta Banking Company

STATEMENT FROM TENNESSEE VALLEY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION:

"Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union would like to reassure their members that they have not experienced a breach and their systems remain secure. 'Unfortunately, this is another case of fraudulent activity that we and other financial institutions typically see more of during the holiday season. Whenever you use your debit or credit card at a merchant or on-line there is always that very small chance someone out there will obtain that information from those sources and use it in a fraudulent manner,' says W. Blake Strickland, the Credit Union's President & CEO. 'As always, we strongly encourage everyone to monitor their accounts on a daily basis and let their financial institution know right away if there are unauthorized transactions.'" - John Merritt, Vice President of Marketing, TVFCU

STATEMENT FROM THE BANK OF LAFAYETTE:

"We have had some unusual fraudulent activity on debit card usage. We are in the process of investigating for patterns of use to get all the facts involved in this situation. We have contacted our debit card processor and they are investigating on their end. As always, we encourage customers to monitor their accounts and if they notice any unusual activity contact us as soon as possible. At any time customers may lower their debit card limits or have their cards blocked and order new cards. We are always interested in protecting the security of our customers accounts." - Jim Ingram, Vice President, The Bank of LaFayette

  • NewsMore>>

  • Graysville Rehires Indicted Police Chief

    Graysville Rehires Indicted Police Chief

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:35:07 GMT
    COUNTY - RheaCOUNTY - Rhea
    GRAYSVILLE, TN. --(WRCB)-- Jason Erik Redden was back on the job today as the Chief of Police of Graysville, Tennessee.Redden, who currently faces 10 counts of official misconduct including theft, has had a tumultuous reign within the last year as the city's top cop.He's been suspended, reinstated, fired, and now rehired.And while some city officials lack faith in Chief Redden, you may be surprised at the level of support he has within Graysville. " I am not surprised they done it, in any oth...More
    GRAYSVILLE, TN. --(WRCB)-- Jason Erik Redden was back on the job today as the Chief of Police of Graysville, Tennessee.Redden, who currently faces 10 counts of official misconduct including theft, has had a tumultuous reign within the last year as the city's top cop.He's been suspended, reinstated, fired, and now rehired.And while some city officials lack faith in Chief Redden, you may be surprised at the level of support he has within Graysville. " I am not surprised they done it, in any oth...More
  • UPDATE: Dog’s condition sparks outrage, owner cited for neglect

    UPDATE: Dog’s condition sparks outrage, owner cited for neglect

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:49 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:49:19 GMT
    A suspected case of animal neglect in Chattanooga has sparked outrage among hundreds of local animal lovers.More
    A suspected case of animal neglect in Chattanooga has sparked outrage among hundreds of local animal lovers.More
  • Mudslinging intensifies in 3rd District Republican race

    Mudslinging intensifies in 3rd District Republican race

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:48 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:48:27 GMT
    It is two weeks away from voters heading to the polls in Tennessee for the primary election and the 3rd Congressional District race is one to watch.More
    It is two weeks away from voters heading to the polls in Tennessee for the primary election and the 3rd Congressional District race is one to watch.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.