Clerk charged with stealing credit card numbers

Published 10:00 am Sunday, September 14, 2008

COURTLAND—A former convenience store clerk in Courtland faces 48 charges related to the theft of credit card numbers from 16 of her customers. Police say additional charges are pending as more potential victims are contacted and verify that they are missing money from their accounts.

Paulette Sumblin, 54, of the 300 block of Roosevelt Street in Franklin, was arrested Friday afternoon by Southampton Sheriff’s deputies. She faces 16 felony charges of credit card theft, 16 felony charges of credit card forgery and 16 misdemeanor charges of credit card fraud.

Detective Cpl. Richard Morris said Friday evening that Sumblin had been booked and released on a $7,500 bond.

He said Sumblin’s former employer, S.W. Rawls, Inc., which owns the Courtland Sunoco where she worked, contacted the sheriff’s office in July about potential illegal activity after having been notified by a customer of a disputed credit card charge.

“Through the dedicated assistance of S.W. Rawls officials, additional potential fraudulent transactions were identified,” Morris said in a press release announcing the arrest. The company’s “quick response and dedicated cooperation to identify and alleviate the problem was instrumental” in preventing additional losses or compromised credit cards, he said.

Sumblin has been released from her employment at the Sunoco, police said.

According to Morris, the theft charges were the result of Sumblin allegedly taking the credit card numbers. The forgery charges were triggered when she allegedly used the numbers as her own, and the fraud charges were for allegedly using the cards to take money. Since the amounts she is accused of stealing ranged from only $20 to $30, the fraud charges are misdemeanors, not felonies.

Morris said consumers are more likely to avoid suffering losses from similar thefts if they keep their receipts, watch their statements and contact their banks when they notice anything unusual related to their accounts.

“Stay diligent with your credit card account, because it is, after all, money,” he warned.

Since the amounts that Sumblin is accused of stealing were so small, he said, customers may have been less likely to have noticed the missing money if they were not paying close attention to their statements.