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Man charged with multiple counts related to credit card fraud

December 07, 2009|By BRIDGET DiCOSMO

HAGERSTOWN -- A Gwynn Oak, Md., man has been charged with 50 counts related to credit fraud for allegedly trying to buy electronic equipment with fake credit cards, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies on Sunday arrested Thomas Linwood Jones Jr., 40, at Kmart at 1713 Massey Blvd. in Hagerstown after store employees reported the attempted theft, the sheriff's department said in a release.

Store loss prevention staff said a man was in the store trying to make purchases with fake credit cards, deputies said.

The sheriff's department and other local police agencies have received several recent complaints from area stores about the use of fake credit cards, the release said.

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Those reports appear to involve similar credit card schemes, Lt. Mark Knight said.

Police allege that Jones had about 60 fake cards in his possession, each embossed with bank information from unsuspecting individuals, according to the release.

Jones was charged with two counts of theft, two counts of attempted theft, one count of theft scheme, one count of possession of false government identification, 22 counts of unlawful use of credit card and 22 counts of receiving a credit card unlawfully.

Jones was being held Monday night on $150,000 bond at the Washington County Detention Center, a spokeswoman at the jail said.

Hagerstown Police and U.S. Secret Service agents assisted the sheriff's department in the investigation.

Knight said the credit cards themselves were counterfeit, but the account information on them belonged to innocent victims.

The information allegedly used by Jones could have been gleaned for illegal purposes in a number of ways, Knight said.

He described a process known as "skimming," where someone uses an electronic reader to illegally copy the credit information through an otherwise legitimate transaction, such as when a bar or restaurant employee runs the card for payment, Knight said.

"The worst thing you can do is put your credit card in one of those little plastic things and give it to your waiter," Knight said.

Knight also recommended making sure to keep track of credit card receipts to avoid them falling into the wrong hands.

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