Woman falls victim to card skimmer; cyber security experts issue - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Woman falls victim to card skimmer; cyber security experts issue warning

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We trust when we use our debit cards at local stores and shops, that our financial information will remain safe and secure.

But one Colorado Springs woman, who doesn't want to be identified and who lives at the Woodspring Suites hotel near the airport, said her information was compromised sometime after using her card at the hotel.

Colorado Springs police confirm in an email to the woman that her information was compromised some time after she said she swiped her debit card to pay the hotel bill.

"I got a text message on the 29th of April letting me know that there was a fraudulent charge on my account, when I called into the bank, there were actually three charges that day and the total was about $150 dollars," the woman said.

She said shortly after using that card at the hotel, a charge showed up at a gas station in Pennsylvania.

The woman told News 5, the bank was able to stop two more charges that day, one at a grocery store in Delaware and another at a gas station in Florida.  

But, she said the charges didn't stop there.

Police confirm to News 5 that her card information was used in New York, Virginia, Texas and California.

"It did cost us about a thousand or two thousand dollars on hold one month which put us negative and it was really hurting us until those charges fell off of the account, but the bank worked with us, the hotel worked with us in allowing us to pay later so that we could carry on through," the woman said.

The woman said in July, eight charges totaling over $4000 dollars were blocked by the bank, but $2000 dollars was held.

She said it tossed the family further into a financial mess.

"We're still looking for housing, we're looking into out of the box ideas, maybe moving into an RV or a camp ground for right now," the woman said.   "It's a detriment to people that are in our position who are fumbling for a place to live, you're paying close to $2000 a month or more for housing, so you can keep your kids out of a homeless shelter and trying to find a way to feed them too and we were managing until this happened." 

The woman said her sister has had the same thing happen to her account after using her card at the hotel.  News 5 found two more complaints on Google Reviews claiming their cards were compromised too.

News 5 visited the hotel to ask if they know about the complaint and what they might be doing to protect customers.

A staff member who identified himself as a manager denied knowing about any issues.

"We don't have any issue here so I'm not going to give any information on anything we got going here," the employee told News 5.  "We don't have any issue that I'm aware of."

But in an email to News 5, a Colorado Springs Police spokesperson confirmed that the technical investigations section had an active investigation at the hotel's address.

Police said in an email to the woman, the company had their IT section checked and found no malware or other infection in their system.

Police said in that email, the hotel has installed a new chip and card reader and it's being checked out along with the rest of the system.

Cybercrime experts like Ed Rios with the National Cyber Security Center believe situations like this can be tough to crack.

 "It's extremely difficult because it could be in another country, when you transact on the internet in a business sense, that information can go just about anywhere you can make a phone call," said Rios.

Your financial protection when using debit cards is all in the use of the chip technology Rios said.

"It's almost impossible to spoof or scam that chip, that chip has a technology in it that allows every transaction to have it's own individual code unlike the magnetic strip, it changes all the time, the magnetic strip can be copied or duplicated at any time," said Rios.

In this case, Colorado Springs Police said in an email to the woman, the stolen card information was, in part, used to purchase gift cards which were redeemed by the time police tracked them down.

Police said in that email they didn't find any surveillance video that would help catch those responsible.

"We were not able to prove that the compromises came from the hotel or the staff," police said in an email to News 5.  "Credit card numbers are sold on the dark web, but we have no way of tracking any of this info down."

Police said the case is inactive.

Rios said there are still a lot of places that you can't use the chip technology, such as gas pumps and large fair style venues.

Rios warns people of using their debit cards at those spots where you must slide your card strip.

If you're having trouble individually or with your business, you can contact the National Cyber Security Center at www.nationalcybersecuritycenter.org or (719) 255-5225?.

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