The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 19, 2013

Thieves use Athens debit card to shop in Florida

ATHENS — Athens resident Tim Belue was stunned last week when his credit union called to ask if he had just spent a bundle of money at a Walmart in Plant City, Fla.

Belue was stunned, in part, because not only had he not ventured to Florida, he hadn’t even left the house.

Turns out, a thief electronically stole his debit card information after his wife used it Friday at an Athens restaurant.  The credit union noticed a problem and called about 2 p.m. Sunday, said Tim’s wife, Monica. But, by then, the thief had made at least 10 purchases using the Belue debit card, racking up a total theft of $500.

“They had a heyday,” Monica said as she reviewed her bank statement Wednesday. 

The credit union covered the theft but this experience and two previous ones have made Monica want to stick with cash in the future.

Police in Florida believe they have surveillance video of the thieves that used the Belues debit card information. However, in many cases, thieves use stolen information to shop online, Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said.

“We have had several reports where these thieves send an email to companies and businesses and when the recipient opens it, it downloads malware  (malicious software) onto their computer that forwards credit and debit card information to the thieves,” Johnson said.

So, what is a shopper to do?

“In this situation, I think the only thing a person can do is be aware and check their (bank) account daily,” Johnson said.

“A victim needs to notify their bank or financial institution as soon as possible if they think their card or account number has been compromised,” he said.


Text Only
Local News


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee