Shopping Season Starts Early for Credit Card Thieves

By Omar Villafranca
|  Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010  |  Updated 11:20 PM CDT
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Omar Villafranca, NBCDFW.com

Denton police see a slight bump in credit card fraud cases.

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Identity thieves have gotten a head start on the holiday shopping -- with someone else's credit cards.

Capt. Lenn Carter said Denton police have seen a slight bump in credit card fraud cases just in time for the holidays.

In the last few weeks, at least seven credit card fraud claims were made to detectives. In one case, a University of North Texas student found that almost $10,000 in fraudulent charges were made in his name. The thieves were not local and shopped at more than two dozen stores.

"It's not uncommon for you to have your card in your possession but still charges being fraudulently made all over the country," Carter said.

Denton police have tips to avoid becoming a victim.

First, monitor accounts for any activity that looks fishy. Also, don't leave credit cards in plain sight while using them at the checkout counter, because thieves can see the number. Finally, only use your credit card at reputable places.

Denton police said they aren't sure how the thieves are getting access to the financial information. Carter said they might be using credit card skimmers -- machines used to copy card information -- or just preying on careless cardholders.

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