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[bitsontherun oCq2tnk6]

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- As we continue our slow march towards a paperless society, many of us rarely carry cash.

Almost every retailer lets you make purchases with your debit card.

Transactions are quick and painless.

Maybe, a little too quick.

No pin number.

No problem.

Crooks are swiping debit cards, then having them run as credit cards.

To make matters worse, they can spend money that you don’t even have.

Sergeant Donnie Elkin is an investigator with the Columbus Police  Department.

He explains, ” If you run it as a credit, it usually takes a little bit longer for your bank to realize that its coming through.”

While the bank maybe a little slow on the uptake, the bad guys or girls aren’t.

Donnie says, ” The one we had last week, just the lady had accidentally left it at a business and the next lady that came to the cash register behind  her.”

I (Andrew Harrison)  asked, ” She went ahead and snagged it?”

Donnie responded, ” That’s exactly right.”

Temptation strikes quickly, but thieves beware, someone’s probably watching.

Shortly after Columbus Police shared this surveillance video with us, and we showed it to you, they had a suspect in custody.

Donnie has this warning for criminals, ” What you have to realize, we have a lot more cameras in these stores nowadays than we used to have, and it’s these videos that really helps us out a lot.”

The stakes are high.

When debit crooks are caught, they are charged with fraudulent use of an i-d, and face up to 5 years in prison for a first offense.

Your best defense is to stay alert.

Donnie concludes, ” Stores are just so busy and they’re so fast, they’re not checking to see if you signed the card. Best thing you can do is just keep a close eye on your accounts. That’s the best thing you can do.”

Donnie also recommends keeping a list of all your credit cards.

The second your realize your wallet or purse is missing, call and cancel your cards. Odds are, crooks have already tried to use them.

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