Credit card scam targets fireworks business

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (WFLA) — The tents are everywhere. With more than 100 locations in Florida, Georgia and Iowa, Galaxy Fireworks targets those celebrating the Fourth of July.

And credit card scammers are targeting Galaxy.

How much money has it lost?

“We’re up to nearly $14 thousand so far,” said Sharon Hunnewell-Johnson, president of Galaxy Fireworks, Inc.

And it happened in approximately one week. 

The scammers are putting stolen credit card numbers on newly made credit cards.

“They make new credit cards and they put their name on it. So if you ask for it, their name matches the card,” said Ms. Hunnewell-Johnson.

The card itself contains a stolen credit card number. When a swipe or chip doesn’t work, the crooks ask tent operators to key in the credit card numbers, which the operators should not do.

According to Hunnewell-Johnson, employees are now taking photos of customers asking tent operators to key in credit card numbers. Scammers showed up at 14 Hillsborough and Pasco locations. Pictures of them and their vehicles were turned over to law enforcement.

“I wouldn’t say it’s new,” said Tampa Police Officer Derek Lang.
According to Officer Lang, these thieves get credit card numbers through skimmers.

“Skimming devices. They get the number, now they’re just imprinting those numbers onto new credit cards, fake credit cards to go use them,” he said.

The fireworks tents are here to make a profit, and now the hope is, they will help catch some thieves.

“I would just love for the police department to get these individuals,” said Ms. Hunnewell-Johnson. “Prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

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