Credit card scam targeting small business | News

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Credit card scam targeting small business

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mohammed Youssef said when he was laid off from his job it was time to go into business for himself and three years ago he did just that.

"I work hard for my money," he said. "I want to protect my kids."

The Lebanese national is pursuing the American dream of having his own business, but with it comes some painful lessons.

"I work hard 18 hours a day," said Youssef, "and one lady came in here and robbed me $1700."

On Sept. 15, a customer came to his store, AFG Appliance and Furniture and purchased appliances and televisions using a credit card.

He said he swiped the customer's card and it was declined. That's when the scam went into action.

"She said it was declined because it was a big number," he said. "She told me I needed to enter a code."

Youssef said the customer gave him a series of numbers and he entered them into his credit card machine and the purchase was approved.

"It went through, the money was in my account," he said.

The code is the scam.

It allows the purchase to be processed offline and gives an authorization of some kind. But, like most victims to this credit card scam, Youssef learned in October the transaction was never approved.

The credit card company took back the funds and the reason given was this: he "failed to obtain valid authorization."

Youssef said it made him sick to his stomach.

"I feel bad," he said. "I don't know what to do."

Youssef said he checked the customer's address and phone numbers and they were all fake.

"Not valid," he said. "They're not valid."

The customer identified herself as Chaalyah Parker. Now he wonders if that's even her true name.

"She is out there doing it again and again," he said. "She needs to be stopped."

He said he tried to file a police complaint and was told he needed more information.

Youssef has since changed the way he does business. If the credit card is declined, he said the customer has to bring cash.

He wants others to beware of this scam targeting small business owners.

"Be careful," he said.


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