The Park City Police Department since late January has received four reports from Parkites indicating accounts attached to credit cards or bank cards had been raided by a person who somehow obtained information about the accounts.
It is a rare string of cases of that nature involving Park City. The Police Department said each of the cases involved transactions that occurred in the Salt Lake Valley. Since the victims are from Park City, the local Police Department was contacted.
The cases total more than $5,000 in losses, the Police Department said. The first report was logged on Jan. 27.
According to the Police Department, the reports through early in the week were:
Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain, said one of the cases occurred in Draper while another one included withdrawals in Draper and South Salt Lake. The cities where the other ones were reported were not immediately available.
"Someone has obtained the credit-card numbers here, we believe," Ryan said.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday it had not received reports recently like the ones filed at the Police Department.
The police in Park City are looking for similarities between the cases. Ryan said, though, the Police Department is referring the victims to law enforcement agencies where the money was taken. He said agencies in those cities will lead the investigation since the cases occurred in those jurisdictions. Ryan said there were no suspects early in the week.
Ryan said it is not clear how the accounts had been compromised. He said thieves seeking the information have several favored methods.
"There's so many different ways to obtain credit-card numbers," Ryan said.
He said a favored method is attaching a card reader known as a skimmer to cash machines or gas pumps. The skimmer collects the information. Other methods include grabbing the information from a card reader attached to a cell phone or copying down the information from a receipt, Ryan said.
In one of the initial reports to the police, the victim said the account information had been obtained using a skimmer at a merchant in Park City, according to police logs. The logs did not provide details like the location of the merchant where the information might have been obtained. In another case, the police were told a victim's bank wanted an official police report.
Ryan suggests people using credit cards or bank cards track their purchases and regularly check their accounts. He acknowledged, though, that sometimes people must hand their cards over when paying, losing sight of the cards briefly. He said people should not worry about using credit cards or bank cards in Park City.
"I do business here every day . . . It's safe," Ryan said.
People with information about the cases may contact the Police Department at 615-5500 or the department's anonymous-tip line, 615-5847. The department also offers an online tip form. The direct link is: https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=994.
Information about fraud involving skimming card numbers is available in a one-page document posted online by the Secret Service. The document is available at: http://www.secretservice.gov/Skimming%20Fraud.pdf.