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Some Bank of North Georgia customers say money's missing

12:37 AM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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NEWNAN, Ga. -- Investigators in Coweta County says thieves have drained the accounts of more than 100 bank customers, and they're still not sure how they did it.

All of the customers had debit cards associated with their Bank of Coweta accounts, which merged earlier this year with the Bank of North Georgia.

Investigators aren't sure when the security breech took place, but say somehow thieves managed to get the debit card numbers and PINs for at least 105 customers. According to the investigation, the information has been used to make duplicates of the customers' debit cards, and use them at ATMs in Florida, Texas and Louisiana.

One victim, who asked not be identified, says he noticed something wrong early Friday morning, when he went online to check his account balance.

"First thing I noticed is there had been an ATM withdrawal for $602.95. Within two hours I noticed there'd been two more withdrawals," he said.

The bank customer says thieves got away with $1,000 before the bank was able to put a block on his debit card. While he says the bank has promised to refund the money, he's had to beg the cable company and other debtors for more time to pay his bills as the matter gets worked out.

"It probably started several weeks ago but many of the victims are just finding it now, either they're getting a statement or going to the ATM and they're seeing their balance is way down," said Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager.

This isn't the community's first problem with identity theft. Less than a year ago, thieves installed skimming devices on gas pumps to record credit and debit card numbers. There were more than 100 victims then, too.

But Yeager says this is something different, especially when you consider many of the victims hadn't used their debit card in months.

"I don't know if somebody was able to breech Bank of North Georgia's computer or records ,but somehow they were able to obtain all this information," said Yeager.

The bank has yet to comment on the extent of the breech, or even to say there was one. It would only tell 11Alive it was "aware of the situation."

Yearger says at least $45,000 has been stolen so far and he believes there are more victims are out there. Investigators are asking anyone who used to have a Bank of Coweta account, to check their account and call Newnan police at 770-254-2355 or the Sheriff's Department at 770-253-1502, if they realize money is missing.

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