Police warn of credit card breaches at local car wash

shopping, spending, consumer, credit

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. – The Police Department is investigating several debit/credit card breaches which occurred at the Colonial Car Wash located at 1530 Altamont Ave. beginning in early March.

Officers became aware that there may be several victims after being contacted by bank managers from M&T Bank, First Niagara Bank and Price Chopper Federal Credit Union. The bank managers reported having several customers report fraudulent activity on their accounts.  The banks began to notice that prior to the fraudulent activity, each of the customers had used a debit/credit card at the Colonial Car Wash on Altamont Avenue.

“Credit card data that’s located on the magnetic strip on the back of the card has been stolen,” said Lt. Michael Brown. “That information is then sold to criminals and they clone the card, and then they’re able to use a fictitious card with the cloned information.”

Detectives are working with the owner of the car wash and the Secret Service to determine the cause of the breach. The owner has indicated that he is working with his equipment vendors and changes have been implemented to ensure thefts do not continue.

“The reason we called the Secret Service is because we’re aware of similar incidents happening at car washes up and down the Eastern seaboard, and the Secret Service is aware of it and have investigated these types of cases before.” Brown added.

The stolen information has already been used to “clone” debit/credit cards which are being used to make fraudulent purchases throughout the U.S. and Canada. Some customers were able to cancel their cards before the illegal activity began.

NEWS10 ABC went to the property to speak with the manager or owner, but our crews were informed that they would be sprayed with water if they did not leave. The employee said his boss told him to do it. A short time later, another station’s crew was sprayed.

“They wound up setting up shop on the sidewalk and then briefly there after a hose was hooked up inside, ran out from the front to them and they were splashed with the hose,” said Mariaville resident Colin Farley who witnessed it happen.

“The Time Warner people were not actually on the property. They had a right to be where they were and one of the employees did spray them with water. He’s going to be arrested,” said Brown.

As for the breach, Lt. Brown says the owner has assured him he’s taken steps to stop it. Police aren’t sure if the computer system was hacked or something else caused breach. Anyone who used a credit/debit card for payment at the Colonial Car Wash in the month of March should closely monitor their banking statements for fraudulent activity.  If suspicious activity is noted customers should report it to their banking institution and the Rotterdam Police Department at 630-0911, immediately.

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