Officials reminding Arizona residents to be careful while shopping during holiday season

Posted at 7:07 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 21:21:29-05

It could happen to you.

That’s the message Silent Witness detectives are giving shoppers on the eve of the biggest shopping weekend.

Detectives are already seeing cases of identity theft rise and are on the hunt for a pair now passing off stolen credit cards at local Targets.

The duo were caught on camera racking up the charges.

It’s likely a similar case for Queen Creek couple Pete and Rosanna Suniga.

The two contacted ABC15 after discovering their debit card number had been stolen while shopping at a local Walmart.

Pete had rushed in to pick up some pajamas for his daughter’s pajama donation.

“There was no one in the store and they have a chip reader and I thought that was the safest and securest thing," Pete said.

Hours later Rosanna just happened to be checking her bank statement and discovered back to back charges at a Walmart in Texas.

“I absolutely wasn't in Texas," Pete said.

The Suniga’s bank account had been wiped out and was overdrawn by $430 dollars.

“We both immediately called the bank, trying to get through, we had three telephone lines going," Pete said.

The bank told Pete and Rosanna the thieves had Pete’s pin number.

Some way, somehow, they accessed his pin because they would've stopped the transaction as a credit card transaction — but because his pin was being used it looked like a legitimate transaction on their end. 

And the Suniga’s weren’t the only ones to call their bank. The representative told them over a half dozen others had called in with charges on their accounts at Walmart locations in Texas.

“It makes me very upset, we work hard for our money and work hard for our things,” Rosanna said.

Unfortunately Rosanna had just deposited money into her account ready to shop the Black Friday sales, but now has to wait 10 days before any cash is replaced back into her account.

Her advice to Valley shoppers: Check you statement balances.

It’s the same advice Silent Witness detectives are also giving, along with being vigilante at the cash register.

  • Don’t have your credit card out for all to see.
  • Cover your hand while punching in your pin number.
  • Look around, if someone is standing too close, ask them to back up. 
  • And if you’ve seen the pair in the Target security video, call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.