(KMOV)-- The Madison County Sheriff's Department confirms that debit card numbers for customers at four Metro East banks have been stolen. Thieves used the card numbers to make thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases at stores like Target and Staples in New York, California and Texas. Investigators believe that an employee at a credit and debit card processing center, stole the card numbers.
Since they say there's no 100% fullproof way to protect your card number from an unscrupulous store employee or processing center worker, experts recommend you open an online banking account so you'll be able to check your account activity often. That way they you can catch a fraudulent purchase and put a stop to the card number before they drain your account. Most banks reimburse you for fraudulent purchases but you could rack up some hefty overdraft fees in the meantime.
If you notice a purchase that you didn't make, contact your bank and the police as soon as possible. Fraud prevention experts advise you to be especially vigilant during the holiday shopping season.