UPDATE: West Des Moines Police Find Link in Spate of Credit Card Fraud Cases
A West Des Moines restaurant where all the victims ate is cooperating with police. Enterprise Rental in Waukee is no longer suspected to be a link.
A dozen victims whose credit and debits cards were used in spending sprees in department stores around the metro area and state reported using them at the same restaurant, West Des Moines police said Thursday.
Police spokesman Lt. Jim Barrett said the management of Eastern Buffet, 4001 Westown Pkwy., is cooperating fully with investigators as they try to determine how the cardholders’ account information was obtained.
Police also don’t know yet how many people may have access to the numbers and other account information.
After paying electronically for their meals, residents of West Des Moines and surrounding suburbs including Waukee, began getting calls from their banks and credit card companies questioning suspicious activity on their accounts. The attempted purchases were primarily at Walmart and Target stores in West Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Ames and Indianola.
Someon attempted to make charges totaling more than $6,250, according to police reports, mostly in increments of $500 and $800. It’s not known how many of the transactions went through. Most of the charges or attempted charges occured between May 10 and May 14, according to police reports.
In one of the instances where credit cards were used at Eastern Buffet, four businessmen from West Des Moines, Urbandale and Ankeny had lunch together May 11. 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.
As investigators were looking for the common link, victims reported having used their cards at a number of other central Iowa restaurants and businesses, but neither the management nor staff of those businesses are believed to be involved.