Hanford police say they have identified a female suspect in what they believe is a credit card cloning scam that hit credit union customers.
At least two people had their credit care information stolen and there may be two other victims, Lt. George Hernandez said Thursday.
What is known so far is that two people had their credit card information stolen, most likely from a credit card skimming device, police said. The two known victims were customers of FAST Federal Credit Union in Hanford.
Police suspect that the information was transferred to a forged credit card in a process known as cloning, and that card was used to buy merchandise and meals from stores and restaurants.
We don’t know where they were cloned.
Lt. George Hernandez, Hanford Police Department
A male suspect may also be involved, he said. Whether the suspects made cloned cards themselves or obtained them from others is being investigated, Hernandez said.
“We don’t know where they were cloned,” he said.
Between Nov. 26 and Nov. 29, several stores in Hanford, Lemoore and Visalia accepted the credit cards, Hernandez said. Among them were Smart & Final, Auto Zone, Toys R Us and Walmart.
By tracking victims’ transactions, police hope to find out where the credit card information was stolen.
Credit card skimmers that record credit card numbers from unsuspecting victims are often installed on gas pumps. Three have been found on gas pumps in Lemoore in the past year or so, said Lemoore police officer Brett Ward.
In two cases, the skimming device was found inside the pump, Ward said. To make it easier to detect a problem, some stations are placing tamper proof tape on the door that covers the inside workings of the gas pump, he said.
New technology for credit cards makes skimming more difficult, but most gas pumps don’t have the new car readers yet, he said. He advised people to go to the clerk and use the card reader on the counter.
Anyone with information about the Hanford cases should call Hanford police at (559) 585-2540 and ask for Sgt. James Lutz or Detective Raymond Dias.