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Guarding against credit card fraud

It may be the season of goodwill, but identity thieves don’t take a holiday.

You think it’s a quick and easy way to pay. But one woman says to think twice before you put down the plastic.

“When all was said and done, there were like 17 transactions over a 10-hour period,” said identity theft victim Stephanie Laing.

In just 10 hours, identity thieves had used Laing’s credit card to get more than $10,000 in gift cards and money orders.

“Most of the time people get their credit card stolen, and in this particular case the victim, Ms. Laing, still had her credit card,” said Wilmington Police spokesman Kevin Smith.

These crooks had gotten just Laing’s credit card number, made a duplicate card, and even a fake I.D.

“It’s quite bold for someone to walk into a Harris Teeter that’s full of surveillance cameras and do it multiple times,” said Laing.

While this is an unusual crime, Smith says identity theft is not uncommon in our area, especially at the holidays.

“We keep three fraud detectives working full time,” said Smith.

But there are things you can do to protect yourself.

“Anything that has any personal information on it, be it your credit card number, your social security number; put it right in the shredder,” said Smith.

Smith also says that you should always sign the back of your credit cards, review your statements every month, and report any suspicious charges immediately.

But Laing says the best advice is to use cash.

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