Thieves use counterfeit debit cards to steal thousands

Thieves use counterfeit debit cards to steal thousands

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SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. -

Crooks used a high tech method to steal thousands of dollars from customers at a Spalding County bank.

Investigators said four thieves manufactured counterfeit debit cards then bought gift cards or merchandise at several stores locally as well as Miami, Fla., and Dallas, Texas.

More than 50 customers of the Griffin-based First National bank had their debit card numbers stolen.

Authorities said the thieves were able to use the fake cards as credit cards.

"When they use it as a credit card, the magnetic strip back here is what is changed and that's how it gets charged back to the customer at the First National Bank," said Captain Tony Ranieri of the Spalding County Sheriff's Office.

One of the victims, Kathy Granger, said that the bank covered the stolen funds.

Ranieri said that authorities are working with law enforcement agencies from around the metro Atlanta area to see how far-ranging the thefts are. In the meantime, police are asking merchants to check for identification when someone uses a credit card.

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