Franklin card skimmers raise fraud concerns

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There is a new wave of identity theft cases sweeping across Johnson County and police say it may be starting at places many people trust.

Franklin police detectives are still trying to pinpoint the exact spot the victims had their credit and debit card information hijacked, but the cases all have one thing in common.

When the Fahrners swipe their credit or debit cards, do they worry who is getting their information?

"Very much, a lot," said David Fahrner.

But in their hometown, Franklin, this story makes them more concerned.

Police say a trip to a car wash may have helped clean cash from 21 Franklin victims' wallets - fraudulent purchases made by unknown credit thieves. Those purchases made all over the United States.

Police say their credit information may have been hacked somewhere else but one thing all 21 victims had in common - all went to the same Franklin car wash.

"In those types of cases, the information is sold. Unique circumstance to this case, duplicate cards are actually being made," said Franklin Police Detective Pete Ketchum.

"You can't trust that your merchant or bank can catch all the fraudulent activity," said Randy Wray with Rook Security, who protects commercial clients online.

Wray says check your statements online at least weekly, more often if you need to, and be vigilant.

He says a card skimmer, illegally installed by thieves in place of a real credit card reader, may have hijacked the customers information. Fake readers are hard to spot, but when you go to pay, you can check things.

If the card reader is loose or has exposed wiring, or if the stickers around the swiper don't seem to match those on the rest of the machine, "it may be an indication something has been changed," Wray said.

He says he uses cash when he can.

Summing up the uncertainty, Fahrner says "I don't know when somebody is going to try to steal my stuff."