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Police seeking fraud suspect

Barnesville police Lt. Al Moltrum has released details of a fraud scheme happening here, to alert local and area businesses. His description of the scam follows.  ’A short, African-American female comes into the business and attempts to make a purchase using a debit card. She will provide a story such as attending a party or traveling. The business owner attempts to swipe the card and it is declined. The lady insists that he try again due to having previous problems with the card swiping. It’s declined the second time. ”She tells the cashier that she would like for him to talk to her bank so they can inform him that she has the funds available. She proceeds to call ‘˜her bank’ from her cell phone. She hands the phone to cashier and the ‘˜bank’ walks the merchant through doing an ‘˜offline sale,’ whereby a machine assumes the merchant called a voice authorization number associated with the merchant’s processor to get the approval code. ”The machine will accept any code entered. The problem is discovered when the machine settles out and sends the final information to the processor. Meanwhile, a receipt prints out portraying that everything went through fine and the lady walks out of the store with the product. ”When the transaction comes through with no authorization, the transaction amount is taken back out of the merchant’s checking account.”  Kathy Pippin, collection manager at United Bank, advises merchants to protect themselves from this type of fraud by never talking to an alleged bank representative on the customer’s cell phone.  ”Call from your business phone if a customer wants you to call a bank, and verify the number dialed is the bank in question’s number,” she adds.   Moltrum asks that if someone attempts to make this type of transaction, please contact the police immediately.

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