Detectives in Mineral Wells are investigating reports from more than 100 victims of debit card fraud.
Mineral Wells Police Detective Neal Davis said he believes the breaches occurred somewhere between the point of sale at a local merchant in Mineral Wells and the banks.
"The data flows in a chain from the individual point of sale up to the bank. The breach could be anywhere along that chain," said Davis.
Every bank in Mineral Wells was affected, including branches of Citibank, Bank of America, First Financial and smaller community bank Titan Bank.
"We've been swamped with calls," Davis said.
Titan Bank manager Dacey Malone said 300 to 400 of its customers were affected.
"I do want to clarify, the banks are the ones who take the losses," Malone said. "We've had about $15,000 in breaches, and for us as a small bank, that's a huge number."
Patricia Facteau learned on Aug. 8 that her debit card information had been stolen and used outside Houston.
"I caught it in time," she said. "They only got me for $227.63."
Experts say paying cash instead of using a debit card is the only sure way to avoid being a victim.
If you do use a debit card, check your bank account regularly and look for suspicious activity. If see suspicious charges, immediately contact your bank.
The Texas Attorney General recommends the following websites on how to further protect yourself from identity theft:
- Texas Attorney General - Preventing Identity Theft Information
- Texas Attorney General - Fighting Identity Theft Website
- Texas Attorney General - Identity Theft Victim's Kit
- Federal Trade Commission - Report Identity Theft Website
- Texas Department of Public Safety - Identity Theft Information Guide