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DECATUR — A debit card lost and quickly turned out to be trouble for a Decatur woman, after police said a snapped cell phone image of the card’s information had been used by an identity thief in an attempt to order a $44 pizza dinner.

The incident prompted a detective with the Decatur Police Department to warn anyone with a lost debit or credit card who gets it back to not take any chances.

“Just cancel it and get a new one,” Sgt. Steve Carroll said Thursday. “Even if someone turns the card in, they might have taken a picture of the front and back of it. And, by the time they get home, there are some victims who find that, within an hour, their bank account is wiped out.”

Decatur police: Man racks up over $5,000 in utility bills using another name

A sworn police affidavit in the case of the Decatur woman said she had given her debit card to her mother, who used it at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at a local fast-food restaurant. The mother forgot to pick up the card when she left the restaurant, but then remembered and returned “with a short period of time” that night to get it, the affidavit said.

Her daughter, the card owner, checked her transactions Wednesday night and found the card had been used to order pizza by phone at 9:50 p.m., but she was able to cancel the order before it was completed, the affidavit said.

Officer Stephanie Vail said in the affidavit that police traced the card’s use back to an 18-year-old employee of the fast-food restaurant. Vail said the man was arrested about 12:13 a.m. Thursday after admitting he had grabbed an opportunity to photograph the card.

“He was apologetic for using someone else’s card to order food, and advised he knew using someone else’s debit card was illegal,” Vail said.

Thieves use Decatur man's stolen debit card number to buy goods valued at more than $1,000

The man was booked on a preliminary charge of identity theft, which is subject to review by Macon County State's Attorney Office. He remained in the Macon County Jail on Thursday night in lieu of posting $2,000 bond.

Carroll said the ease and speed with which sharp digital pictures can be taken with a cell phone make card copying easy for thieves, who then go shopping by phone or online. Carroll re-emphasized that a card lost and out of sight, even for just a few minutes, should be canceled and replaced.

2018 mug shots from the Herald & Review

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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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