Bank customers reporting hundreds in fraudulent charges

Bank customers reporting hundreds in fraudulent charges

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - It's not the news that Kerstin Shinn wanted to wake up to.

"I had an alert on my cell phone that alerted me to the fact that I was overdrawn," said Shinn.

Her checking account was overdrawn by hundreds of dollars. The problem was a fraudulent transaction of $800 made Saturday morning.

"I posted to Facebook to let my family and my friends know, look this happened to me, check your accounts, make sure that you're okay because this happened. And my Facebook just lit up - 'It happened to me, it happened to me,'" Shinn said.

Regions Bank is hearing from some of its West Bank customers whose debit or credit cards were "skimmed" at a local store. But that business has not been identified yet. The bank believes customers at other financial institutions were also affected. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says it hasn't recovered a skimmer, but it has seen a slight uptick in reports of fraudulent credit card usage. Deputies are investigating.

"I'm legally responsible until Regions can do something to fix it," said Shinn. "It would absorb all of my balance, budget for the next 15 to 20 days, and that's putting us in jeopardy. T that's bills, that's food."

In a statement Regions Bank said:

"To protect our customers, we have increased electronic security to help stop fraudulent transactions. We also advise all card users, no matter your card company, to keep watch on your accounts. If you see anything suspicious, let your bank or credit card company know as soon as possible so we can work with you to resolve the issue."

In the meantime, Shinn would have this to say to those responsible for stealing from her account.

"This is not your money, it's not free money, it belongs to us," said Shinn.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office offers this advice to protect your bank account: Only use gas pumps that have intact security seals, and cover your hand whenever you are entering your PIN number to  prevent being recorded. At the ATM, lightly tug on the card insert slot to make sure a skimming device has not been placed over the reader. And monitor your account.

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