Colorado ski towns deal with rise in credit card fraud
The Aspen Police Department said Tuesday that it has been dealing with an increase in reports of credit-card fraud in recent weeks.
Spokeswoman Blair Weyer said the reports appear to be related to instances in which a resident or visitor has used a credit card at a local business with point-of-sale systems which may be infected with malware originating from Russia or Ukraine. That information came to the department from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, which has received similar reports of fraud.
The U.S. Secret Service is responsible for investigating wire-fraud cases within the United States, Weyer said.
“Fraud cases do not appear to be isolated to the Aspen area,” an Aspen Police Department statement said. “The department is aware of reports from throughout the valley, in addition to other Colorado ski towns.”
Weyer said the department has fielded five to 10 reports of fraudulent transactions from individuals over the past few weeks. No local businesses have been identified as having had their point-of-sale systems compromised, but “the number of local reports suggests the possibility,” the statement said.
Aspen police are urging community members to be vigilant in tracking their credit- and debit-card transactions to ensure no fraudulent charges have been made on their cards. As an added safeguard, customers can ask merchants if they are “Payment Card Industry compliant,” which means that the businesses abide by a set of standards to help protect themselves and their customers against security threats, the statement said.
“Business owners and operators are encouraged to follow (Payment Card Industry) standards to help prevent these types of frauds from occurring,” the statement said. “Businesses should contact their (point-of-sale) vendor to ask about any possible malware issues they may have encountered. In some cases, hard drives may need to be wiped and passwords or login information changed at the local business.”
In past years, the Aspen Police Department has linked fraudulent credit- and debit-card activity to skimming devices placed at area retail establishments and banks. “The Aspen Police does not believe there is an active skimmer operating in town,” the statement said.
Those who believe they are victims of fraud should visit http://www.ic3.gov and click “File a complaint.” The IC3 site is co-sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. Complaints filed through the website are processed and may be referred to federal, state, local or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies for possible investigation.
Weyer said anyone with concerns about potential fraud is welcome to call the department at 970-920-5400.
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