Bankers: Card fraud spotted quickly

MORGAN CITY, La. -- Over the past several days, some people in the Tri-City area have seen fraudulent charges or purchases popping up on their credit and debit cards, but local bank representatives say they have been able to detect the fraud quickly and resolve the issues.

Rose Cope, Patterson State Bank vice president for deposit operations, said some of the card numbers that had been compromised were identified before they were used, Cope said. The other cases were caught by the fraud department. Customers do not have a potential for loss because the bank makes right any authorized activity, Cope said.

As soon as the department sees any suspicious activity, an employee contacts the cardholders on their cell phones, Cope said. If they cannot reach the person on his or her cell phone, they will temporarily cancel the card until they can get in touch with the customer, Cope said.

The majority of the fraudulent charges, probably 95 percent, came out of different cities in Texas, Cope said. Cope encourages customers to continue to monitor their accounts, though in most of the cases the bank has notified customers of the fraudulent charges, she said.

The overall amount of fraudulent charges was “very minor,” affecting less than 1 percent of the bank’s cardholders, Cope said. A couple years ago, a widespread outbreak affected about 75 percent of the bank’s customers, Cope said.

M C Bank & Trust was among banks that had reports of fraudulent charges.

“Once our customers give us a call, we’ve been able to resolve all of it pronto,” Chief Operations and Financial Officer Jeremy Callais said. M C Bank is analyzing data right now to see how the fraudulent charges came about, he said. The bank does not have any definitive answers yet on where the fraudulent charges originated from, Callais said.

Callais said M C Bank detected the fraudulent transactions early. “We were able to put some back office rules in place that, unfortunately, may have turned down a good transaction for some people, but it’s blocking a very large majority of the bad transactions,” Callais said.

Callais said M C Bank is being “over-cautious trying to make sure we block the bad transactions.”

Normally, unauthorized activity on cards is restricted to one transaction until the bank can determine if it is fraud, Cope said. Patterson State Bank has 24-hour notification of fraudulent activity, she said.

Cope said the bank gets notified by VISA when VISA becomes aware of credit card processors that have had a breach.

Every business or entity that processes transactions has to have a processor to accept credit cards, Cope said. An example of a possible cause of a breach could be a company’s computers getting hacked, she said.

When VISA notified Patterson State Bank of card numbers that could have been compromised, the bank immediately canceled the cards and notified the customers to get a new card, Cope said.

Both bank representatives said customers can call their respective banks to report fraud at any time.

The Morgan City Police Department has only received one complaint over the past few days of fraudulent charges on a debit or credit card, according to Police Chief Travis Crouch.

The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office has not received any complaints of fraudulent charges being made to their bank accounts in the past few days, according to Sheriff Mark Hebert. Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Traci Landry said, “If they’ve been a victim, and they report it to us, we can better track it, and better communicate with the public what’s going on overall.”

Landry said sometimes bank customers directly contact their bank about possible fraudulent activity, and the bank handles the issue without law enforcement getting involved.

Berwick Police Chief James Richard said his department has not received any recent complaints of credit or debit card fraud.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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