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Boulder PD searching for man accused of charging $23K on stolen credit card

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BOULDER, Colo. -- A Boulder man says he got stuck with a $15,000 credit card bill after the thief swiped two of his credit cards at a King Soopers.

On Tuesday, the Boulder Police Department released pictures of the suspect from a surveillance camera inside an Apple store.

The incident happened in July, but the victim, Luis Garza, says he didn’t initially file a police report.

“I thought they had bigger things to worry about,” he told FOX31, adding that he decided to deal directly with Chase Bank instead.

According to the Boulder Police Department, it took just 90 minutes for the suspect to charge $23,000 on the credit card at three different Apple stores.

“I was pretty shocked that the charges went through,” said Garza.

Garza says he normally keeps his wallet in his pants, but didn’t have pockets on his trip to King Soopers, so he put it in his cart instead.

“I didn’t have my back turned all that long, but long enough,” he said.

Garza got an alert from Chase Bank and called to cancel the credit card. He says US Bank quickly reversed his debit card charges.

But initially, he says Chase Bank told him he’d be on the hook for $15,000 in fraudulent charges because the card was present at the time of purchase, and the suspect was able to provide personal information about Garza.

“He had information that only I could have furnished,” Garza said. “They got some information on me somehow, in order to make those purchases."

Chief Information Security Officer for CyberCecurity, Mitch Tanenbaum, says getting sensitive information is easier than some people may think.

“There’s no such thing that’s secret anymore. You can -- for a few bucks -- buy thousands of data points on human being, ranging on where they work, where they live, where they go to school. And much of that is available for free,” Tanenbaum said.

He says credit card companies are responsible for covering fraudulent charges.

“Under federal law, the maximum liability you have for fraudulent transactions on the credit card is $50, if you do timely notifications. Timely notifications by the feds is defined as within 60 days of billing for that charge,” Tanenbaum said. “As far as the law is concerned, as long as you report it in a timely fashion and you don’t commit fraud by reporting it, then you’re covered.”

The FOX31 Problem Solvers reached out to Chase Bank, which released a statement Tuesday evening, saying in part:

“During the investigation, we had difficulties reaching the customer to obtain additional details, so the fraud claim was denied. But given the new information you provided us today, we were able to confirm some facts, and now feel comfortable approving the claim.”

Tanenbaum says if consumers run into issues with their own credit card company, when it comes to fraudulent charges, they can do two things.

“In order to preserve your rights under the law, you must make a demand of the bank in writing. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but you submit it to the billing address that’s on the credit card statement,” he explained. “The second thing I would do if the bank is being less than responsive is I would file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The bank is going to be much more responsive to the Federal Trade Commission than they are to you."

If you have an information regarding the suspect, contact the Boulder Police Department.

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