TOWN AND COUNTRY, MO (KTVI)-Police in Town and Country are looking for two women they believe are “cloning” credit cards. The practice involves stealing credit card numbers, often with a skimming device, then making your own card to shop with.
The two were caught on camera walking out of the Target store at Woods Mill and Clayton Roads. Inside they had used the phony card moments earlier.
“Apparently it was a cloned card they had used,” Town and Country Police Captain Bob Arthur said in an interview, Monday. “The victim was never out of possession of her card. They traced it to the Target store here in Town and Country and they had used it to buy some gift cards.”
Gift cards are popular with credit card thieves because buying them is almost like buying cash.
“It’s an easy way to steal from somebody else’s account. It’s very difficult to track back when they buy gift cards.”
Because the victim lives in the area, the use of the card was not unusual, and the victim’s bank didn’t stop the purchases. It wasn’t until she got her bank statement that she discovered she was being ripped off.
Police say they've heard from at least one other St. Louis County municipality looking for the pair, and there may be others.
You don’t have to look very hard to find people who have been victims of credit card fraud anymore. It took only ten minutes in the parking lot of the same Target store to come across Kelly Mellott.
“Christmas shopping up in Chicago and they stole our number and our bank recognized it,” she recalled. “So they caught it.”
But that didn’t mean the incident was hassle free.
“Yeah it was very frustrating, ya know, having to be issued new cards,” she said.
Most people we spoke to agree the rising numbers of credit card thefts, and the variety of ways they’re being perpetrated, is troublesome.
“I guess you can do what you can do, but where there’s a will there’s a way and people are going to take advantage of you at some point in time,” Paul Susic told us. “I guess all you can do is minimize the risk and hope it doesn’t happen.”
For police, the sheer numbers of these cases are starting to become overwhelming.
“It does become very difficult to follow through on these crimes,” Captain Arthur said. “We eventually do but it is pretty labor intensive.”
If you have any information on the two women involved in this latest theft, you’re asked to contact Crimestoppers. The number is 866-371-TIPS.
For more on credit card cloning and identity theft, visit ftc.gov