Fraudulent bank charges traced back to Russia, other foreign countries

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Fraudulent bank withdrawals are a financial nightmare for anyone who's experienced the problem.

Recently, customers from several area banks have reported fraudulent withdrawals, most coming from overseas. Newscenter 16 has received several e-mails and phone calls from concerned viewers, worried after their accounts were compromised.

Police reports show the fraudulent transactions appear to have been made in Russia, the Ukraine, Nigeria, and Spain.

Police have filled out dozens of reports over the last few days and expect to file more. So far, police say they've seen accounts compromised at Teacher's Credit Union, Michiana's Finest Bank, Keybank, and Notre Dame Federal Credit Union. It appears the suspects have somehow gotten access to the victims' ATM or debit/credit cards and their PIN numbers.

Officials at Notre Dame Federal Credit Union have at least twelve confirmed fraud victims. The NDFCU’s President, Leo Ditchcreek, thinks their victim’s bank and PIN numbers could have been compromised at a specific ATM in the area, perhaps related to a breach at First Source Bank several weeks ago.

One of the fraud victim's at Notre Dame Federal Credit Union spoke to Newscenter 16 by phone Tuesday. Shannon Joy had more than $1000 dollars taken from her account, out of Russia. “I was scared, really nervous, you hear about things that happen to other people, sit there and think ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do?’” explains Joy.

“I think we're fairly fortunate that the police in our area have good communications between each other, so we will sit down and meet and come up with a game plan,” says Assistant Mishawaka Police Chief Mike Samp. Samp says the FBI will also be getting involved.

To give you an idea of how big a fraud issue this has become: St. Joseph County Police took 18 bank fraud reports Monday and 12 on Tuesday (and that's the county alone).

Bank officials recommend customers keep an eye on their account, especially this week.