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Debit Card Information Stolen at Pilot Travel Center-John Dunn

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HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. - There has been a significant security breach at a Pilot Travel Center in Middle Tennessee. Dozens of people are coming forward claiming that someone stole their debit card information.  The information has been used to withdraw cash at ATM's in California and New York.
    
The Pilot Travel Center just off Interstate 40 on Highway 13 may be the busiest gas station in Humphreys County, but it doesn't make what happened here any less surprising. "Small town down here, you know, you wouldn't imagine," says Dawn Thomason.

Dawn Thomason knew something was strange when her debit card was denied at a local business. She called her bank and found out her information, and more than $300, had been stolen. "They went to an ATM there in California and withdrew money out of my checking account and used my PIN number," says Thomason.

FOX 17 News spoke with many victims all telling similar stories. Somehow their electronic debit card information was compromised after using the Pilot gas station over a 2-3 day period in late December. Both the United States Secret Service and the Humphreys County Sheriff's Office are investigating. "They were going to an ATM in another state, they were using the PIN numbers that they were able to acquire, accessing the accounts, and removing cash from those accounts," says Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis.

Detectives believe whomever did this may have stayed at a Best Western hotel across from the Pilot.  We're told they used a stolen credit card to pay the hotel, and after they left, officers found more stolen cards inside their room. It's not clear if the thieves hacked into Pilot's payment processing system, or used an electronic skimmer to steal card information.
  
Pilot released a statement saying, "Pilot Flying J takes its customers credit card safety seriously and is always trying to stay on top of anti-theft initiatives. If there is an issue, Pilot Flying J will cooperate fully with the authorities."

Dawn Thomason says she has learned a lesson. She will no longer use her debit card and PIN number to buy gas. "If I come over here I'm going to use it as a credit, or I'm going somewhere else," says Thomason.

Most victims had several hundred dollars stolen from their accounts. One man we spoke with had over a thousand dollars taken. In all of these cases, banks are having to pay for the fraud.

For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn

Pilot Flying J communications manager Anne LeZotte issued this statement today: 

"Pilot Flying J does not use a satellite system to process credit card payments in the state of Tennessee. 

Pilot Flying J takes its customers credit card safety seriously and is always trying to stay on top of anti-theft initiatives. If there is an issue, Pilot Flying J will cooperate fully with the authorities in regards to any investigation, and any further inquiries should be directed to the proper officials. 

If any customers are concerned that they might have been a victim of identity theft or have experienced fraudulent charges, they should contact the local police and their issuing bank or financial institution immediately. In addition, you can visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.

The safety and convenience of our customers are top priorities at Pilot Flying J."


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