Hackers target local card holders
By Joe Moskowitz
Dozens of area people and several local banks are struggling with a wave of stolen credit and debit card account numbers.
Arkville resident Terry Johnson told the News Monday that within minutes after using his bankcard locally, someone in Florida made a purchase using his account number. His bank’s security system spotted the transaction right away and there have been no more unauthorized charges on his account.
Things didn’t work that quickly for Dry Brook resident Alan Misner. The same day that he used his card recently, someone in the Bronx charged nearly $1,300 worth of merchandise to his account.
All banks involved
Both Johnson and Misner are customers of the Margaretville branch of NBT, but whoever is stealing the account numbers is causing problems for several local banks. NBT, Delaware National Bank of Delhi, Community Bank, The National Bank of Delaware County, and even customers of Sidney Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, and Ulster Federal Savings who work elsewhere, but shop here, have been affected.
Margaretville Mayor Diana Cope, who has stopped using her debit card, said that with so many local people affected, perhaps the “hacker” is working out of this area.
She is not the only person who is considering that possibility.
Delaware County Sheriff Thomas Mills told the News Monday that the banks are reluctant to talk to anyone, even him, but they admit there is a problem. He said the county lacks the technology to conduct such an investigation and said it is in the hands of the state police. They aren’t making any statements either, but Mills confirmed that troopers are looking into the possibility that the account numbers are being obtained by someone locally.
Apparently, after either a debit- or credit-card transaction is completed, someone is obtaining the information and fake cards are produced within minutes.
Even people who haven’t had fraudulent charges on their accounts have been inconvenienced by having their cards refused at a store. The “Dear Valued Customer” letter explaining why a new card and account number are being issued, doesn’t arrive until days after the fact.
Cindy Filupeit of Arkville said it happened to her recently and it is embarrassing to have to say that there really is money in the account after the card has been rejected.
It may be embarrassing, aggravating, and inconvenient, but no customers of any local banks have yet to lose any money.
Even if this is a local problem, it is part of an international security issue.
One Margaretville man, who said he is already dealing with an identity theft issue, so he didn’t want his name used, said he had his tax refund deposited into a debit account. It was not from a local bank. When he went to get some money, his entire account had been drained. He was told it would take 120 days before it is settled and he still probably won’t get his money back.
And Beth Tanzer of Margaretville said her card has been hacked twice. She said in both cases it was related to the highly publicized security breach at Target. She said told the News that her National Bank of Delaware County ATM card can no longer be used at Target.