Police Think Spate of Credit Card Fraud Cases Related; Includes Waukee
Victims from around the metro reported having used their credit cards at a number of area businesses, including Enterprise Rental, before suspects ran up more than $6,250 in charges.
In an age when credit and debit cards have replaced cash, reports of identity theft aren’t that unusual.
But the frequency of reports over the past week has gotten the attention of detectives with the West Des Moines Police Department, and residents from Waukee and elsewhere in the metro.
As many as 14 people from West Des Moines and surrounding suburbs have reported to police that they’ve been notified by their banks and credit card companies of suspected fraudulent activity on their cards. Charges or attempted charges totaled more than $6,250, according to reports on file at the West Des Moines Police Department.
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The common denominator in the cases appears to be that the victims reported last using their credit or debit cards at a number of area businesses, primarily restaurants, including some in Waukee, West Des Moines, Urbandale and Johnston.
West Des Moines Police spokesman Lt. Jim Barrett said detectives are investigating a possible connection between the cases. There’s not much people can do to prevent such crimes other than to regularly their monitor their bank and credit card account, he said.
“Be careful where you give the numbers out,” Barrett advised, acknowledging that “sometimes, there’s nothing you can do. Just make sure you keep on top of your financial records.”
In one case, four businessmen from West Des Moines, Urbandale and Ankeny reported having lunch together at Eastern Buffet, 4001 Westown Pkwy. in West Des Moines.
Later that day, each of the men was told by his credit card company that attempts to use the cards had been repeatedly made at a Cedar Rapids Walmart.
One of the men, a West Des Moines stock broker, told police that charges on his account were made in $500 increments. His lunch partners reported charges in similar amounts.
In another case, a Clive woman told police she got a call from a representative of her Mastercard company Friday who asked if she was making a purchase at a West Des Moines Target store.
“No, I am here on the phone,” she said, according to the police report.
Later that day, the company notified her again that another attempt had been made to use her card at a nearby Walmart, this time for $800. In both cases, the card was declined.
She said she had used her card at T.G.I. Friday’s in West Des Moines the evening before.
Others reporting suspicious activity on their cards said they had previously used them at Enterprise Rental in Waukee, Irina’s Restaurant & Bar in Urbandale, Troestel’s Dish in Clive, Buffalo Wild Wings, Legends American Grill, Guitar Center, Best Buy, and Office Max.