As KGVO News reported, an unidentified female is suspected of stealing credit and debit cards last weekend and running up bills of over $10,000 in less than two hours.

Ryan Sullivan, investigator with the Montana Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Protection said the ultimate loser in a scenario like the one last weekend, is the consumer, through higher prices.

"The consumer can challenge the charges, and in that case, the credit card company will simply charge the merchant for the losses, holding the seller responsible for not checking  to make sure that person did not own that credit card," Sullivan said. "The consumer in the long run will be the person that loses, because the credit card company will get their money back from the merchant, and the business will want to make up for those losses by raising prices."

Here is a news release from the Office of Consumer Protection;

Credit card fraud takes places in a variety of ways and cannot always be prevented, but it’s important to create obstacles to make it more difficult for someone to get hold of your card/numbers. It’s important to treat your credit cards/numbers as if they were cash.

Here is a list of credit card fraud protection practices that OCP provides to Montana consumers:


  1. Never give your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company and you know to be reputable. If you’ve never don’t business with them before check online for reviews or call Montana Office of Consumer Protection at 800-481-6896


  1. Carry your cards separately from your wallet. This can help minimize your losses if someone steals your wallet or purse.


  1. When completing a transaction, make sure to keep an eye on your credit card. Get the card back before you walk away.


  1. Never sign a blank receipt and draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.


  1. Save all receipts to compare with monthly statements.


  1. Open bills promptly and check statements online often.


  1. Report any questionable charges or discrepancies to the card issuer immediately.


  1. Notify your credit card issuer if your address changes or if you will be traveling.


  1. Don’t write your account numbers/information on the outside of payment envelope.


  1. Call card issuer as soon as you realize your card has been lost or stolen. Most companies have a 24 hour toll-free telephone line. Once you have reported the loss or theft you will not be responsible for charges you didn’t make; liability for each card lost or stolen is normally only $50.

If a consumer needs assistance in a dispute with a merchant or credit card company they can file a complaint with our office by visiting here or by calling 800-481-6896.

At last report, the suspect is still at large.