Police and Crime

Oro Valley resident Bob Holzaffel received an email one afternoon from his credit card company telling him his information had been compromised. Someone other than him had used his Visa credit card to make three separate purchases totaling $3,500 at the Apple Store at La Encantada Mall between 2 and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9. 

But the credit card used was still in Holzaffel’s possession.

His is one of a few cases that have surfaced in Oro Valley in which criminals are somehow finding a way to use another’s credit card without ever laying a hand on it. 

“It’s disconcerting,” said Holzaffel. “The card never left my hand. We only shop at a few stores, so how it was compromised is the biggest thing on my mind.”

Just as disconcerting to Holzaffel is the lack of answers he has been able to receive. He spoke with management at the Apple Store, but they would not release surveillance to him. They also told Holzaffel they weren’t sure if identification had been requested before the fake Visa card was used.

“It seems like they just pushed the issue aside,” said Holzaffel. “They’re getting their money from Visa, so it was like they didn’t want to help. Without an extra push back, I’m worried other companies in town may make the same mistakes and the community members will be the ones affected.”

Detectives told Holzaffel that since he is to be reimbursed by Visa, he is no longer considered a victim.

“These crimes may just keep being perpetrated in the community if they look at the credit card company as the victim,” argues Holzaffel. 

A case manager at Apple’s headquarters has also been assigned to the case.

Crimes such as these continue to surface in the northwest, a few of which have occurred in Oro Valley.

The Oro Valley Police Department is still looking for answers as to how such fraud is occurring.

“We’re not sure how they’re cloning these cards,” said Oro Valley Police Department Public Information Officer, Lt. Kara Riley. “Are they collecting the information off Internet purchases and creating the cards based on that? Are they using a skimmer? We don’t know.”

In another recent case, two males between 20 and 30 years old entered an Oro Valley Walmart on Sept. 7 and left the store with $250 in merchandise after using self-checkout. Riley says surveillance shows the men attempting to use several different cards before finding one that works. 

“If it doesn’t go through as a good transaction, they are trying another and another and another,” said Riley. This means there are potentially many more unknowing victims out there.” 

Since the incident at Walmart, somebody has attempted to use the card in question six more times in Nevada. 

Police are still looking for the two suspects involved in the case. 

A $1,000 reward is being offered to the person who provides information leading to an arrest in the case. 

Whether the victim is an Oro Valley resident or the fraudulent activity occurs within town limits, Riley says each case is being thoroughly investigated by the Oro Valley Police Department or in collaboration with other jurisdictions that may be involved. 

Anyone who has fallen victim to credit card fraud, or who may have information about the crimes is encouraged to call 911 or 88-CRIME. 

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