Colorado Springs

SCAMBUSTER: Hackers use local businesses as bait

SCAMBUSTER Hackers use local...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Scammers are at it again...this time using local businesses as bait to test if stolen credit cards are still active.

It's no secret hackers are always after a new credit card number.

But what do they do with it once they have it?

They have to test it: meaning charge, charge, and more charges. 

It's common to for scammers to make these transactions online or sometimes over the phone to avoid reporting a security code.

Sallie Clark's story

Sallie Clark, owner of Holden House Inn in Old Colorado City, is used to the typical summer rush. 

"We're really busy this time of year," she said.

But lately she's been getting some suspicious interest.

"We took a reservation which seemed legitimate at the time," Clark said.

As usual - Clark charged the credit card provided over the phone.

"Went ahead and put it through and about a week later we received a notification from American Express, that reported we received a fraudulent charge," she said.

The reason scammers do this is to make sure the card is active and working, so they can continue making expensive purchases.

The problem?

"In our case they called, and we did not get the security code," Clark said. "So at that point so we didn't know if they really had the card in their hand."

It's important to take the extra time to verify this information because as Det. Jon Price explains, these scammers aren't stopping anytime soon.  

"They're very smart about what they do, so don't be deceived to think it can't happen to you," he said.

The moral of the story?

Remember if you're taking a transaction - make sure to get the security codes, verify the zip code and the address match up with the card holder's name.

Plus - keep in mind scammers target small businesses for a reason...

"They might think that we don't have the security procedures in place that a large hotel might," Clark said. "So in their mind it could be easier to take advantage."

Note: Another scam to look out for are Craigslist ads offering up vacation rental homes. Be sure you don't fork over any credit card information - without verifying the real owner posted the ad.

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