Mother Claims Naughty Elves Stole Her Debit Card Information

Mother Claims Naughty Elves Stole Her Debit Card Information

By Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It looks like Santa might have some naughty elves working for him this year. A Midland mother is claiming her debit card information was stolen after getting pictures with Santa.

On Friday afternoon, Kiara Castro was in the Christmas spirit and decided to take her two daughters to get a picture with Santa at the Midland Park Mall.

"I went to pay for my photos and the boys took an extra long time with my card but I didn't think anything of it. I just figured maybe they were trying to figure out the machine," Kiara Castro, a mother who claimed her debit card information was stolen, said.

Castro said while she was cashing out, she got distracted with her kids but she didn't know anything was wrong until the next day.

"I was at the store trying to pay and my card was declined which was embarrassing but I called my bank and they said that I had an authorization which is normally a fraud thing and that they had closed down my debit card," Castro said. 

Castro called and asked her bank what happened. She said they told her it was a charge from for $0.00. 

"I was trying to think to myself who could have gotten my card number because I hadn't used it in almost a week and then I remembered when I went to the mall, I paid with my card and the boys had taken awhile," Castro said.

She claimed the bank told her the charge happened within minutes of her last purchase, the Santa picture. 

"Then the bank said that the charge happened about 15 minutes after I left and there was nobody else at the mall visiting Santa when we were there so they must have ran it right after we walked out the door," Castro said.

Castro said she called the mall and attempted to call the company to let them know what happened, she also told police.  

"They gave me a website that I could go to to file a report. I thought that maybe it was a local site but when I went to it, it was just the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft and then I went and I was told that since no money had come out of my account yet that they couldn't really do anything," Castro said. 

Castro said she's grateful her bank caught what was going on. But at the end of the day, she said she won't be purchasing any more Santa pictures from naughty elves.

"It definitely makes me not want to take my kids to see Santa, although that would be kind of sad for them so I probably will take them to see Santa but I probably won't be purchasing any pictures," Castro said.

NewsWest 9 did reach out to the Santa company, Noerr Programs, and a representative sent NewsWest 9 the following statement: "We are distressed by the allegations that one of our employees may have attempted to misuse a customers credit card number. We sincerely appreciate Mrs. Castro bringing this to our attention. Our Region Manager is in the process of conducting a thorough investigation. We can assure guests planning to visit Santa at Midland Park Mall that their transactions are secure."

Kiara also told NewsWest 9 the company did reach out to her to apologize and offered her to come back for a better experience for either Christmas or Easter but she declined.