Three suspects were charged with credit card fraud after they allegedly possessed fake gift cards and credit cards during a traffic stop Wednesday on Interstate 24 in Rutherford County.
Driver Rashad Muhammad, 26, of Atlanta, Brandon C. White, 25, of Stokridge, Ga., and Sean C. Osbourne, 29, of Hamstand, N.Y., were charged with criminal simulation and fraudulent use of a credit card by Deputy Travis Perusse of the Interstate Crime Enforcement unit.
Deputy Perusse stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation near the South Church exit of I-24. Deputy Perusse smelled marijuana and searched the vehicle where he recovered 37 fraudulently encoded credit cards, two fake identifications and 88 gift cards.
Some of the encoded cards were in the names of the suspects and some matching the fake IDs.
"We are encountering more credit card thefts than drugs," Deputy Perusse said.
Deputy Bo Davis used a card reader to obtain the financial information from the magnetic strips on the back of the card and determined 37 cards did not match and were altered.
"This is now one of the fastest growing crimes in Rutherford County," Deputy Davis said.
Detective Lt. Todd Sparks agreed credit and debit card frauds are increasing because of technological advancements.
"It's easier for people to get information that is stolen quickly and reused quickly," Lt. Sparks said.
Thieves steal credit card information by attaching skimming devices to gas pumps and ATM's that takes the information on the magnetic strips. The information is sold on the black market and used to credit a new credit card with the victim's name. The card may be used quickly to make online purchases before the victim realizes the fraud.
"It's rampant right now," Lt. Sparks said.
People should protect themselves watching for the skimming devices and by monitoring their debit and credit card accounts daily. People who are victims should report the crime to their bank or credit card company immediately.
Public information officer
Rutherford County Sheriff's Office