Friday, September 9, 2011 Update:
Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper says that reports of credit card fraud continue to stream into his office. “We have had several more reports of credit card fraud cases, totaling 14 as of Friday morning” Roper said. “This number could rise obviously, as we had 6 reported only yesterday (Thursday).
As of Wednesday afternoon the Clarke County Sheriff’s department has received five reports of credit card fraud since September 1. While the incidence of reported credit card fraud so far this month is not above average, Sheriff Anthony Roper says that anecdotal reports from area citizens and businesses indicate that a bigger problem may exist.
Roper said that one victim reported that several people in their office had experienced a credit card fraud but that the Sheriff’s department had no way of knowing whether or not the other victims took the time to report the crime
Roper said that the reporting victim had been alerted to the fraud by their credit card issuer.
“There is no pattern in the charges, with one victim reporting local charges, and the others reporting out of state purchases” Roper said. “Typically, our office will follow up on the cases with local purchases, since we can gather evidence from clerk interviews and videos from stores. The out-of-state cases are hard to determine jurisdiction, since we do not know where the actual larceny takes place. There is no indication, for example, that these cases involved actual theft of the card or account information locally.”
“The good news for the credit card holder is that the bank covers the cost of the credit card fraud” said Bank of Clarke vice president John Hudson. “The Bank of Clarke ends up eating the amount so the customer is out nothing.”
Hudson indicated that the Bank of Clarke was investigating the recent uptick in credit card frauds but said that the fraudulent charges are coming from a very broad area and so far investigations haven’t revealed any clear patterns or sources behind the thefts.
But in a world of increasing social media communication, groups of people experiencing an event like credit card fraud can often provide information that helps authorities better understand the source and magnitude of related fraudulent transactions.
While both Hudson and Roper stated that they had no definitive links to where the compromised credit card numbers were stemming from, managers at the Alamo Drafthouse in Winchester, Virginia apparently have reason to believe that their theater may have played a role in the credit card fraud.
As of Thursday morning the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema FaceBook page carried the following post:
“We are currently investigating the possibility of compromised credit card information in the recent past at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. We are working diligently with all appropriate parties to provide resolution to this matter. The protection of our guests’ information is our highest priority. If you suspect that your credit card or debit card may have been compromised, please contact your financial institution.”
John Hudson said that Bank of Clarke’s standard practice involves working with local law enforcement agencies and the Secret Service in Bank of Clarke credit card fraud cases.
“People typically think of the Secret Service as the agency that provides presidential protection but they have a broader law enforcement role” Hudson stated. “They also are responsible for protecting the US currency against counterfeiting and other types of fraud like this.”
Hudson also stated that while the term “credit card hack” was being used to describe the recent fraudulent transactions, there was no indication that any of the stolen credit card information had come from a banking system database.
“Database hacking may be the source of the problem but it didn’t occur from a bank system” Hudson said. “It appears that the information is coming from other sources.”
Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper said that if someone believes that they have been a victim of credit card fraud they should alert the card issuer to report the fraud and also call the Clarke County Sheriff’s department as well.
In addition credit card fraud complaints can be filed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) The IC3 was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate.
To file a complaint please visit http:// www.ic3.gov