MARQUETTE -Some area residents' debit card numbers were stolen last week, causing several local banks to limit the use of customer debit cards.
According to statements issued by the Marquette Community Federal Credit Union, the U.P. Catholic Credit Union and Range Bank, several allegedly fraudulent transactions occurred in the Detroit area with debit card numbers taken from residents living in the Marquette area.
Jim Lori, general manager of the MCFCU, said it's possible a card "skimmer" device was used to obtain debit card numbers from a point of sale machine in the area.
"We're thinking it is somewhat limited, but we're not sure of that, and that is why we did the precaution (of limited debit card use)," Lori said.
All three banks shut down signature-based transactions with their customers' debit cards, allowing instead only pin-based transactions.
Lori said he is unsure how many accounts were affected by the fraudulent activity, but wanted to assure debit card holders that nothing beyond the card numbers had been stolen.
"There is no personal information that has been leaked, meaning they don't have these people's Social Security numbers," Lori said. "All they have is their card number."
Lori said he is hoping the problem can be resolved by the end of the week, allowing debit card users to return to their normal transactions.
The Marquette City Police Department has launched an investigation in the alleged fraud.
"Late last week, we got information on some frauds involving debit cards in our community" said Detective Capt. Gordon Warchock. "Today, we're looking into the matter and investigating what's going on in the community with this."
Warchock said police would be working closely with local banks, and asked anyone with information on the matter to contact the city police department by calling 228-0400.
Anyone who believes their card number may have been used fraudulently should contact their local bank immediately.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.