There have been several hundred debit card fraud cases reported in the area of Paoli in the last few days, possibly due to someone using a skimming device to hack into accounts.
The Paoli Police Department is currently investigating the situation.
“We would encourage people to try and use cash as much as possible until the source of the fraud is located,” noted the Paoli Police Department Facebook page.
At the Hoosier Hills Credit Union, things looked like a scene from “It’s A Wonderful Life” as customers flooded in to withdraw cash and put a freeze on their debit cards.
“You just stop breathing and think, ‘Now, I got hit again,’” Joanne Pielemeier, a victim of the latest scheme, told a Louisville TV station.
Pielemeier and her husband were the victim of 20 instances of fraudulent use of their debit cards. They feel assaulted and robbed, Pielemeier said, but they aren’t alone in their frustration.
“When we showed up this morning, this parking lot was completely packed and we (were) searching for a spot to park in. It’s been coming and going, and coming and going, and everybody’s here for the same thing,” said Angie Howard, another victim.
While the Hoosier Hills Credit Union appears to be the hardest hit, police said customers at the Springs Valley Credit Union and other Paoli banks have also been hacked.
The problem is so widespread, police posted on the department’s Facebook page that they are encouraging people to try and use cash as much as possible until the culprit is found.
According to victim, their fraudulent charges were mostly made at Walmart stores in Texas and California.
In many cases, thieves are putting $50 on a gift card or spending $100 on groceries.
Credit union executives said they are trying to work as quickly as they can to shut down debit cards that are affected, but they urge members to take a look at their charges as frequently as possible, and if they see anything suspicious, to immediately call the bank.
Hoosier Hills Credit Union said if they call a member about fraud they will not ask for a card number and will cite specific charges that are suspicious.
Messages to Walmart about the investigation have not been returned.