New recruit at St. George store accused of spending thousands on bank cards taken from co-worker – St George News
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ST. GEORGE- A man is in jail and facing bank card charges after allegedly buying thousands of goods using cards he took from a colleague.
On Tuesday afternoon, officers responded to a store on Bluff Street in St. George after receiving a report that several credit cards had been removed from the purse of one of the store employees, according to the statement from probable cause filed in support of the arrest.
According to police, the employee said that at the time of the incident, her purse was stored in one of the company’s offices, and later, when she realized the cards were missing, she checked her bank account and discovered several transactions that had been made without her. knowledge or consent.
The report also states that a review of the plaintiff’s bank statements revealed that more than $2,200 had been debited from the account through a series of purchases made at a number of local retailers.
During the investigation, officers obtained video footage they believe helped identify the suspect responsible for the robbery, Gerardo Rodriguez, 45, who moved to the Las Vegas area and was recently hired to work for the same grocery store. chain.
Officers also learned that Rodriguez was assigned to the store on Mall Drive in St. George where he had been working since last week and was due to work there the same day, that’s where he was found, he was asked out and then taken into custody by the police.
During a search of Rodriguez prior to transport, police said they recovered several bank cards from his wallet belonging to the complainant, as well as a pipe and a binder of suspected methamphetamine, a substance with which the suspect later told police that he had addiction issues.
Officers also found gift cards that were later allegedly purchased using the stolen bank cards.
Speaking to police, Rodriquez said he bought the bank cards for $100 from a colleague who he said told him “he could use them anytime,” the officer noted.
Authorities say Rodriguez also admitted to using the cards to make purchases at several big-box retailers to pay for tools, gift cards, food and other smaller items — statements that matched transactions listed. on the complainant’s bank statements.
During a search of the hotel room the suspect was staying in, officers recovered several sets of tools, an air mattress, food and numerous other items, but police never found the one of the bank cards reported as stolen.
Rodriguez was arrested and transported to the Purgatory Correctional Facility and imprisoned on five counts of third-degree felony, including three counts of unlawful acquisition of a bank card, one count of unlawful use of a credit card finance and a flight leader. He also faces drug and paraphernalia charges.
Following Tuesday’s arrest, Rodriguez remains in custody on $5,000 bond.
It’s credit card fraud season
During the holiday season, consumers not only make more purchases than during the rest of the year, but they also tend to be more distracted, studies show. This combination can be risky for vacation shoppers when it comes to credit card and identity theft.
The number of identity theft reports doubled between 2019 and 2020 and continues to grow. In fact, last year more than 1.7 million credit card holders were affected, according to a report by the Federal Trade Commission.
Nearly 400 million reports of credit card fraud were processed by the FTC in this year alone, making 2021 one of the most prolific years on record for this type of crime, according to the FTC.
The losses are staggering.
Last year, consumers lost more than $5.8 billion to credit card theft and fraud, and the highest number of reports came from people between the ages of 30 and 39, and according to Consumer Affairsthe most targeted groups are children, the elderly and the military.
To avoid falling victim to scammers, it’s important to be wary of potential scams when shopping in-store or online, as the holidays are the perfect opportunity for scammers to separate consumers from their money.
One place that attracts thieves is online shopping, which has steadily increased over the past few years. Although most retailers offer safe and convenient systems for making purchases online, it is important to watch out for potential scams, especially during the holidays when scammers often take advantage of consumers’ desire for bargains, and if it sounds too good to be true, it very likely is.
Before entering payment information, make sure the retailer’s website has a “padlock” symbol in the URL, indicating that the web page is encrypted and your information is protected from criminals. Also, sites that use “https” at the beginning of the URL tend to be safe and secure.
Another way criminals obtain banking information is through credit card skimmers, a device that copies the account holder’s card information which can be replicated to create new cards. Avoid using a card reader that appears to have been tampered with.
It is also easy for someone to write down their credit card information during a transaction. So beware if the card is not returned immediately after purchase.
Thieves also target houses and vehicles to break into to find maps or other valuables, so keeping these items out of the car and securing the house and vehicle makes these places less attractive to criminals.
This report is based on statements taken from court records, police or other stakeholders and may not contain the full extent of the conclusions. Those arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court or until a trier of fact decides otherwise.
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