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Gainesville man caught up in holiday identity theft at retailer

POSTED: December 29, 2013 11:57 p.m.

Gainesville resident Joseph Bush has always been careful with his bank cards, so he was surprised to learn this month his checking account had been breached.

“I usually check my checking account every few days, and it showed $200 overdrawn,” he said. “The charge was for $780 to Apple Computer in California.”

After seeing news reports of a Target security breach, Bush realized he was likely one of the victims.

“I couldn’t figure out where in the world it came from. I never let my card out of my sight — I don’t even use it in restaurants because you can’t see them run the card,” he said. “The next day I saw it on the news about Target.”

The nation’s second-largest discounter acknowledged in December that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that started on Thanksgiving weekend.

Bush said he spent about $50 at the store on Nov. 25 and Nov. 27.

The fraudulent charge was resolved when Bush contacted the store. He was told someone had used his card and address, but gave a different name.

The name and another address for the purchaser were handed over to the Secret Service, which is the investigating agency, Bush was told.

His bank, Wells Fargo, is working to refund the overdraft fee, in addition to the fraudulent charge, he said.

The experience was alarming for him, he said, as a person four years retired and living on a fixed income of pension and Social Security.

“I try to be careful,” he said. “I mostly use my debit card, and I’ve become accustomed to it, and I don’t think anything about using it at large places like Wal-Mart or Target or Sears.

“It’s just something you don’t think about until it hits you, and then you think, ‘Oh boy, I better be more careful,’” he said. “I’m just going to have to think twice before running it now.”


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