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Card fraud tied to car wash

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Over the past two months, someone illegally collected numbers from at least 13 credit and debit cards and bought goods out of state.

Police still aren’t sure how the thieves were doing it, but they think the connection could be a Franklin car wash, where all of the cards had been used. Since May 7, 13 people have reported their credit or debit card was fraudulently used at stores in other states after they visited the car wash at Bradley Hubler Chevrolet, 1550 N. Morton St. A total of $837 has been spent — as far as police know right now.

Police suspect someone used a skimming device, which can be placed into a credit card reader — often without a business’s knowledge — and can copy information off swiped cards to steal the numbers. But the information could have been stolen other ways, such as by someone hacking into a credit card processing system, Franklin Police Department Lt. Pete Ketchum said. No skimming device was found on the outside or inside of the machine at the car wash, he said.

Bradley Hubler Chevrolet has security and surveillance camera systems, general manager Kenny Young said. He isn’t sure how the business could be more secure.

“I think we’ve done all that we can do,” he said.

The thieves started collecting the card numbers about two months ago, based on data from the bank, Ketchum said. The thieves then used those card numbers to create duplicate cards. But the cards weren’t used until May, when charges the card owners didn’t make were found in California, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, used for purchases as small as $6 and as much as $200.

Police are reviewing bank data to determine how and where the fraud happened in each case. The car wash pay stations are a common factor in the cases, but police don’t know for sure that’s where the card numbers were stolen, Ketchum said.

The car wash doesn’t have surveillance footage showing anyone tampering with the machines, and police and the business haven’t found a skimming device, he said.

The police department so far has information on where seven of the copied debit cards were used, and the bank reported Monday that an additional six customers had fraudulent charges on their cards, Ketchum said.

Six cards were used to make more than $800 in purchases at clothing stores, department stores, a convenience store and a drug store. The seventh copied card was declined when someone tried to make a purchase, Ketchum said.

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