The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office reported on Friday, November 22, that there has been a significant spike in credit card fraud.

Sheriff Chris Hoffman said his office has fielded quite a few calls asking if anything is being done about the many instances of fraud experienced by Ravalli County residents.

"I think there's been a lot of talk on Facebook and some of the local TV stations have covered it a little bit," Hoffman said. "When we realized it wasn't just localized in our community, I contacted the United States Secret Service and found out that indeed, they are working on the problem. The issue seems to be widespread across all of western Montana. I am satisfied that they are conducting a very aggressive investigation into the matter."

Hoffman said one of his own family members has been affected by credit card fraud.

"The first indication that I got of this was when a family member told me in passing that they had received a call from their bank letting them know that there was an unusual charge and the bank took the appropriate steps," Hoffman said. "I think that's how most people are becoming aware of the situation. The banks are doing a great job of tracking this and they're right on top of it."

Hoffman said anyone with a credit or debit card should aggressively check their statements and act immediately if they notice any unauthorized charges.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman