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Nationwide scam reported in area

February 9, 2013
The Daily News

By LISA M. REED

Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN - The Island Resort & Casino in Harris is alerting its patrons of a nationwide credit card scam in which credit and debit information is being harvested and used in unauthorized transactions.

Dave Feathers, public relations manager for the Island Resort & Casino, said that once the casino found about the credit card scam, notices were immediately put up so people could be aware of what could happen to them.

"We encourage people to check with their banks or financial institutions, credit cards, and bank statements for fraudulent activities," he said. "This is a nationwide scam with credit card information being harvested and used for unauthorized transactions. We are trying to ensure people are aware of this happening, and we don't want it to happen to anyone here."

Evan Myers of Iron Mountain and formerly of Boston, Mass. said he is a victim of this credit card scam.

Myers was at the Island Resort & Casino on Thursday night and said he found out his debit/credit card was denied after he went to use it to make a beverage purchase.

Myers then found out that his debit/credit card had been used downstate.

He was then informed by casino officials of the nationwide credit card scam.

Information released by the casino reads:

"It appears there is a nationwide credit card scam in which credit/debit card information is being harvested and used in unauthorized transactions. If you have used a credit/debit card for any recent transactions, we encourage you to please check your credit card/bank statements for any signs of fraudulent activity."

Det./Sgt. Justin Poupore of the Hannahville Police Department, said this national credit card scam has been reported to them.

"We are investigating into any wrong doing that may be at it. At this point it doesn't appear to be anything that's internally located in the casino," he said. "It appears to be at a larger scale."

Meanwhile, a man authorities say helped mastermind a massive credit card fraud ring has been arrested as he tried to flee the country.

Muhammad Shafiq was arrested Thursday night as he tried to board a flight to Pakistan at New York's Kennedy Airport.

The 38-year-old Shafiq is a Pakistani citizen.

Authorities say he was one of the masterminds of a $200 million scam that operated out of Jersey City.

The group allegedly used fake businesses and at least 7,000 identities to open 25,000 credit card accounts. They allegedly maxed out the cards and didn't pay the bills.

Authorities charged 18 people, including Shafiq, with one count of wire fraud. Three remain at large.

Shafiq appeared before a judge Friday and remained in custody.

According to Paul Fishman, U.S. attorney in Newark, N.J., the intricate Jersey City-based con began in 2007, operated in at least 28 states and wired money to Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Romania, China and Japan.

Feathers added that more information regarding the scam has been posted on the Island Resort & Casino's Facebook page. It states while in the process of working with financial institutions, its been verified that all systems and processes of the Island Resort & Casino and Island Oasis are secure/uncompromised and that these incidents were not just isolated to the casino and gas station, but were also occurring on a local and national level as well.

Attorney General Bill Schuette's office has been notified of the scam, officials said.

Local law enforcement agencies were not aware of the scam.

Lisa M. Reed's e-mail address is lreed@ironmountaindailynews.com.

 
 

 

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