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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, March 23, 2023


St. Thomas merchants should be on the lookout for Visa and MasterCard credit cards stolen from a processing center in Argentina.
Thomas B. Brunt III, president of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, said V.I. Justice Department officials expect the stolen blanks to begin appearing in the Virgin Islands immediately.
Brunt warned that:
— The cards are genuine and will have the correct name embossed on them.
— The first sign that a card may be one of the stolen blanks is if it does not register approval when swiped for electronic verification.
— Ongoing problems with 800 numbers may prevent some merchants from running the electronic test, but running the test is important.
— Merchants should not hand-write charge slips and file them electronically later.
— Require double and triple identification such as passports, drivers' licenses and Social Security cards. Do not accept other forms of ID that aren't usually recognized and be especially careful when accepting credit cards from Argentinians since the cards were stolen in that country.
— Be aware of each customer and look for suspicious patterns. Ask questions about previous and future travel and require an address as an additional check.
— Be especially vigilant on days when many visitors are shopping. People using fraudulent cards "will take advantage of you at the moment when you are most distracted or have the least amount of time to check them out."
— Be wary of people who make large purchases of big-ticket items late in the day, typically between 4:30 and 5 p.m., and especially without any discussion of the purchase or the price. Example: Rolex watches.
— Be wary of anyone making purchases on multiple credit cards.
— Do not erase the tapes from surveillance cameras for at least 30 days.
— If you sell merchandise to someone using a fraudulent card, immediately report all information about the sale to:
Douglas Sprotte, V.I. Department of Justice, 774-5666 (ext. 157), work; 775-3599, home; or 513-7534, pager.
Richard Valesquez, V.I. Justice Department, 513-7529, pager.
Richard Espinosa, MasterCard Services, 1-305-539-2340.

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