Monday, January 14, 2008

Park Slope Credit Card Fraud Report Update

Yesterday, we noted an outbreak of credit card fraud in Park Slope. There were nearly two dozen emails circulating via the Park Slope Parents group from Park Slope residents noting fraudulent use of their credit cards. Most reported charges--some of them well into the thousands of dollars--from gas stations and chain stores a great distance from New York. Many of the emails speculated that the fraud was originating with a business or businesses in Park Slope where an employee might be capturing and selling credit card data that thieves were using to create counterfeit cards being used elsewhere. Since we posted, there have been even more emails from people coming forward to say that their accounts were fraudulently used too. Many of the compromised accounts appear to be Citibank ones, leading to some speculation that the fraud could be originating from a credit card company itself, but the reports cover a wide number of banks. At least one victim says that a number of cards that were compromised had some establishments in Park Slope in common. Here is an excerpt:
I've been following these posts. My Amex (not Citi issued) narrowed it down to 5 places in the area, but I don't want to name names in writing. One is a restaurant, 2 are grocery stores, one a drugstore and one a liquor place. I think we could all probably get to the bottom of this fairly easily.
A follow up email from the same person noted that "Someone just contacted me offline, and we had three local 7th Avenue places/sources in common: a drugstore, a restaurant and a grocery store." Meanwhile, here is a typical follow-up email with information about yet another fraud:
I wanted to share that similar charges for $75 were made at Jacksonville Florida gas stations. If anyone else in the neighborhood also experienced the same, please post! I was surprised that my bank didn't block the charges sooner (don't they have algorithms to see that I never purchase gas, I don't live in Florida and that charges at gas stations should not amount to $1000 a day!).
And so, today's mystery is whether the fraud is originating in Park Slope or with a credit card company. Are the more than two dozen reports of very similar kinds of fraud a coincidence, indicative of the widespread nature of such problems or is the problem with a local business?

The credit card issuers involved should be able to triangulate and find the source, if it is a business in Park Slope. In all likelihood, even more stories will surface in coming days.

UPDATE: Park Slope Parents says that it is rejecting posts that mention the names of merchants that have come up in common in emails. "As has been pointed out these thefts may or may not involve the merchants and we we feel it would be irresponsible for us to allow public speculation that might damage the reputations of perfectly innocent members of our community." They say they have been in touch with the 78th Precinct and will be meeting with an officer that handles credit card fraud complaints tomorrow. "In the meantime we will continue to reject posts that go into the specifics of local merchants," they say. There is certainly a possibility that the fraud is occurring at a store outside of Park Slope or within the credit card processing operations themselves.

Related Post:
Credit Card Fraud Outbreak in Park Slope?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started a post on the Park Slope Message board, for those of us (gasp) non-parents who would like to compare charges and discuss this. I got hit too. The post is here:

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's probably not just Park Slope. We're in Northern Brooklyn and my credit card got hit in October and my husband's bank card got hit the other week. My fraud was in Missouri and his in Moscow!

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Live in Park Slope. Chase/MC debit card used over the weekend at gas and Dunkin Donuts locations in Brooklyn, Elmhurst and Astoria. Then they ran up a $1000 tab at a restaurant in Astoria. It was a new card too, so maybe I can triangulate the culprit....

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Prospect Park South and was notified on Dec. 24th that I'd had three transactions at gas stations in Arcadia, FLA totally nearly 400$. My bank is dealing with it. I mostly shop along Church and Cortelyou Avenues and haven't been in Park Slope in over a year. Other connections maybe?

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all this going on and people still complain about businesses that refuse to take credit cards...

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it could be the people that swipe your credit card.... there are little clip-like tools (you can find them on ebay) that slide into credit card processing terminals, and read each strip with each swipe. so even though you're handing your card over and getting it back literally faster than anyone could read, let alone memorize, your card numbers... the thieves have them anyway. and then they take them home and can embed those numbers/id onto ANY credit card or ANY magnetic strip. it's not as complicated as it sounds, anyone can do it, really, which makes it even more difficult to find the thieves.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Live in DUMBO, Brooklyn- debit card hit at end of JAN- was used at gas pumps in Palm Beach Fla area. According to Chase, this is a well known scam. Thieves have dummy ATM card, pull a van into the station, put card in for $100, put nozzle in side of van that empties into large gas container, gas is then sold.

2:27 PM  

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