Rebecca Russett discovered late Monday evening she was the victim of debit card information theft after her husband, Brandon Russett, checked their bank statements online.
“He asked me why I spent $105 at a Walgreens, and when I told him that I didn’t, we contacted our bank right away,” Russett said. “Before Monday, I had gone to the RaceTrac, Dairy Queen, Burger King and a store called Five Below, all in Canton.”
Russett said the $105 charge came from a store in Indiana, and after finding out about the charge, she began immediately warning others through social media.
She posted on Facebook cautioning others to be careful when swiping a debit or credit card. The responses poured in with people sharing similar stories of theft after shopping along Marietta Highway in Canton.
“It’s kind of nerve-wracking to know that someone took my information. I was worried they were going to deplete my savings account. I also was wondering how much other information that could’ve been stolen,” Russett said. “I’m skeptical about shopping at any of those places without using cash.”
Dairy Queen, at 2761 Marietta Highway, posted signs on Wednesday that read, “I am sorry, we are not able to take credit cards. CASH ONLY please!”
Store Manager Mildred Nunez said it is being done as a precaution due to other data breaches that have recently happened nationally.
Canton Police Lt. Jeff Tucker said any Canton resident who has debit card or credit card information stolen should file a report.
Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant said the stealing of card numbers is on the rise.
“I always encourage individuals to use their credit card over debit cards because the money isn’t immediately taken from you. I encourage people to sign up for online banking services so you are able to access your checking and credit card activity daily,” Merchant said. “The quicker illegal activity is spotted, the easier it will be for you to work with the bank and local law enforcement to catch the perpetrator and prevent further fraudulent activity.”
Merchant said it is important to realize it can happen to anyone, and people should take precautions to prevent it.
“Unfortunately, too many people think it won’t be me, it’s always the other guy. During my career, I have spoken to many people who have had their lives turned upside down trying to get fraudulent transactions on their credit and debit cards taken care of. The best line of defense is understanding you can be a victim and doing everything you can to safeguard credit and debit information,” Merchant said.
Russett planned to file a police report with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday. She said she had to file a report in Pickens because that is where she resides. Russett said she also has to file a police report in Indiana because that is where the charges to her card were made.
“I just want everyone to be on the lookout and if something doesn’t look right, don’t use your card. I would encourage everyone to use cash until this problem can be resolved,” Russett said. “If someone has already had their information hacked, please file a police report so they can stop this and we will no longer have to be scared to shop at these businesses.”