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Investigation into local card fraud continues

Though the number and frequency of calls to the Detroit Lakes Police Department about possible credit card fraud have decreased this week, Police Chief Tim Eggebraaten says they have not dissipated entirely.

“We still get reports trickling in,” he said. “I know we’re at over 200 (incidents reported) right now, but they’re slowing down quite a bit.”

Unfortunately, the root cause of the information leak that led to the rash of reports about debit and credit card misuse from lakes area residents still has not been identified, Eggebraaten added.

“There’s not much new to report with the investigation,” he said. “We’re still trying to track down the source of the leak, and what or who has been getting the information.

“We’re still going to work with the Secret Service and the different banks that are involved, and work with the businesses (where unauthorized transactions occurred) too. If there are some businesses where we think there’s a leak or some kind of computer-driven breach then we’ll continue working with them and go from there.”

Though this is the first time such wide spread credit and debit card misuse has been reported in the Detroit Lakes area, “it’s not an unusual thing in the credit and debit card world,” Eggebraaten said. “It’s not uncommon — it’s just uncommon in Detroit Lakes. This is our first up close and personal experience with something like this.”

As for any leads in the case, Eggebraaten said, “We can narrow it down to a few different businesses that are common denominators, and we’re notifying these businesses to let them know that they may be a possible source where this information may be leaking out.

“We’ll just keep trying to follow the paper trail and match up the different consistencies that are happening, and hopefully we can get to the source of it (the information leak) and get that shut off,” Eggebraaten said.

Anyone who finds any signs of unauthorized transactions on their bank or credit card accounts should contact the Detroit Lakes Police Department at 218-847-4222 to report it.

To help local residents recognize potential sources of information leaks that could lead to identity theft and credit card misuse, the Better Business Bureau and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP are co-hosting an informational seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center.

The 11 a.m. seminar will focus on “Protecting Yourself & Loved Ones from Frauds and Scams,” and is free and open to the public.

“At AARP, we’re really interested in helping all people, and those who are age 50 plus especially, to have financial security and avoid crimes and scams,” said Jay Haapala, associate state director of community outreach for AARP.

Wednesday’s seminar will focus on “the latest trends and what criminals and scammers are really trying to do, and educate the public to know what to look for,” he added, noting that the old adage is true — if something seems to be too good to be true, it most likely is.

He also said that the recent rash of card misuse in the lakes area would be one of the topics raised for discussion.

Though the seminar is free and open to the public, Haapala said they are requesting RSVPs from those planning to attend, in order to have some idea of the numbers involved.

There will be refreshments served, and a few door prizes will be given away.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by calling 1-866-554-5381, or sign up online at

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454