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Credit Card Fraud Warning

Hundreds of victims have lost thousands of dollars in a new type of credit card crime. Police in Waynesville are actively pursuing the case of one of the largest credit card crimes they have ever seen here. Investigators in multiple agencies are working the case involving credit card and debit card compromises at major fast food franchisee Bojangles in October and November.

Investigators say hundreds of customers at at least five area Bojangles were victimized in Waynesville,  Asheville and Hendersonville and the Greenville, South Carolina region and one in Western Tennessee.

"We have all been inundated with fraud reports," said Lt. Chris Chandler an officer with Waynesville Police. "We've even had five of our officer's cards compromised."  

Some of the victims have gone in to check their bank accounts only to find the accounts completely wiped out thanks to the thieves. Thefts on cards range from several hundred to several thousand.  Lt. Chandler said he has now heard of one victim who's card was compromised to the tune of $19,000 in theft.

Multiple police agencies are involved in the investigation including Asheville police, Haywood County detectives and investigators from law enforcement agencies in South Carolina and Tennessee.  Fake cards tied to local Waynesville victims have been used all over the country to make charges and withdraw cash from bank accounts from New York to Florida to California. 

Lt. Chandler said the thieves use malware to pull the customer's card information and then bundle the numbers selling them to a third party. Thieves then actually make brand new cards with magnetic strips that work, called cloned cards. Lt. Chandler said he spoke with one clerk in Illinois who allowed the card thieves to keep trying various fake cards until one of them worked.

"They would slide five different cards before one was successful and they, the clerk, allowed that transaction to go through," said Lt. Chandler.

Bojangles Director of Operations, Johnny Caldwell, who oversees 34 area Bojangles in Western North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina released the following statement to WLOS Thursday night: We've had a third party contracted to review and secure our systems several weeks ago. The banks have been in touch with our office and taking care of our customers. We want all our customers to know it is safe to use credit cards in our stores.

While the card victims are victims of identity theft, all banks and card companies typically have insurance and policies to absorb the thousands of dollars in thefts that come with fraud like this.  Lt. Chandler said all banks and credit unions involved in this current clone card crime have been extremely cooperative with their investigation.

by Kimberly King

Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports


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