Arrest made in Butte ATM card deductions
By Daniel Witter/Appeal-Democrat
A Yuba City man suspected of making unauthorized
deductions from unsuspecting ATM card holders was arrested by Butte
County law-enforcement officers Wednesday.
Jaspal Singh, 19, a clerk at Fastrack Mini Market on Highway 99
in Gridley, was arrested there on suspicion of identify theft and
theft by use of a debit or credit card. He was booked into the Butte
County Jail with bail set at $200,000.
Police Department has identified 14 alleged victims so far and there
may be more, said Lt. Brian Cook.
“We're going to try to identify victims,” he said. “We need help
from the public.”
Evidence gathered from Singh's residence
and vehicle included 76 credit card numbers, statements and a laptop
computer, said Cook.
Anyone who spots unauthorized deductions
from their accounts in the Biggs-Gridley area from Fastrack or other
businesses should contact police at 846-5678.
There are no
other suspects at this time, but the investigation is continuing.
The owners of Fastrack are cooperating with investigators, according
to the Police Department.
The arrest came a day after the
Yuba County Sheriff's Department and the Marysville Police
Department said they have received more than a dozen reports of
unauthorized deductions from debit card accounts at gas
Those victims reportedly lost thousands of dollars,
according to Detective Sgt. Mark Cummings of the Marysville Police
The Gridley and Yuba County cases are not related, Cook
Yuba County law-enforcement officials are urging people
with debit card accounts to check their statements and report any
unauthorized deductions to their local law-enforcement agency. Butte
County law-enforcement officials are delivering the same
“Identity theft is very common these days,” Cook
said. “It's everywhere.”
Jos Van Hout, an economics-crime
investigator with the Butte County District Attorney's Office, said
identify theft is “becoming more of an epidemic. Everybody has a
credit card. Everybody has multiple credit
Seventy-three percent of identity thefts arise from
criminals taking over credit card or debit card
“Pay by cash,” he said.
If that isn't
feasible, he recommended that cardholders walk their cards up to the
cash register and watch as clerks enter them into the system. The
swipe units should be connected to the cash register, he
“You don't want to have any hand-held units or anything
that is portable,” he said.
Another thing people can do when
making purchases online is to use a credit card with a low spending
limit, such as a $500 maximum. Criminals are more likely to pass on
these types of accounts because they want more money, he
“It limits the exposure you have that the banks and
merchants are (ultimately) responsible for,” Van Hout
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Witter can be reached
at 749-4712. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.