Ferndale, MI—On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the City of Ferndale learned that a temporary staff member—a City Hall front-counter cashier/customer service assistant employed by Robert Half/Account Temps—had been accused of a potential theft crime.
On Sept. 23, the Ferndale Police Department was contacted by a Ferndale resident to report an identity theft. The victim told officers that she had discovered several suspicious and unfamiliar charges on her credit card statement. After a thorough investigation, the Police determined that the suspect, a 25-year-old female resident of the city of Detroit, is a temporary contracted employee of the City of Ferndale.
Ferndale police detectives arrested the woman shortly after her arrival for work at City Hall on Tuesday. Detectives have submitted a multi-count warrant request on several felony charges to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. The suspect is being held at the Ferndale Police Department lock-up facility pending the issuance of warrants.
City Manager April Lynch said that the City understands the sensitivity and critical nature of the issue and is doing everything possible to assist the Police Department.
“Safeguarding our community members’ private information is our absolute top concern and priority,” Lynch said. “Our primary goal right now is ensuring that a situation like this never happens again.”
Lynch advised residents to contact the Ferndale Police Department if they believe their credit cards may have been used to make fraudulent charges.
“While we don’t have reason to believe that many others were affected, we’re serious about making sure our residents’ information is secure,” Lynch said.
According to Sgt. Baron Brown, there is no indication that this incident was related to a computer system breach. “This appears to be directly related to an individual who manually copied credit card information,” Brown said. “If you did not use a credit card for payment of any fees, taxes, or permits at Ferndale City Hall within the last two months, detectives do not believe that your personal information has been compromised.”
Lynch affirmed that City Hall will be implementing a couple of critical and strategic changes in the coming days and weeks, including an upgraded credit card payment machine at City Hall that allows customers to swipe cards, removing the need for staff to handle cards.
“We’ll also be upgrading the City’s surveillance system,” Lynch said. “Detectives affirmed that footage from our surveillance cameras was essential to their investigation, and we want to make sure we stay on top of technology changes and keep our cameras functioning successfully.”
The City uses temp agencies periodically to fill temporary vacancies. Robert Half/Account Temps, the agency that employed the woman, is cooperating fully with the Police Department’s investigation.
For additional information regarding this situation, please contact Ferndale City Hall at 248-546-2525, or Ferndale Police Sgt. Baron Brown at 248-584-2595.