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OC investigates credit card fraud cases

Olympic College administrators are working with an outside forensic expert and local law enforcement to get to the bottom of fraudulent credit card use reported by students and staff members.

Olympic College Communications Director Jennifer Hayes says that the reaction to the fraudulent activity has been "one of surprise."

"From our perspective, we're obviously concerned because this is something we take very seriously and we want to protect the financial information of our students and employees," Hayes said.

About 20 students and employees notified college personnel that their credit card or debit numbers were used fraudulently in recent weeks. Hayes said that an exact number is still being determined. In each reported case, the individuals used their card at Olympic College prior to getting a fraudulent charge.

Hayes said that the college is working with forensic accounting experts from the Seattle office of the international security firm Trustwave.

"Trustwave has taken mirror images of our entire point-of-sales system," Hayes said. "They've basically made a copy of everything that's on the point-of-sales so that they can investigate further."

Hayes said that the college has also notified the Bremerton Police Department about the investigation.

"We're also working the Seattle Police Department since they have a forensic expert there," Hayes said.

The college is urging students and employees that used their credit or debit cards in recent weeks to review their accounts and report any suspicious activity to their financial institution and place a fraud alert on the card. Those that suspect fraudulent activity are urged to contact the college's campus security office at 360-475-4800 to report the incident.

In the meantime, in addition to its investigation, the college has taken precautionary steps and removed credit card transaction systems from the main merchant network. The college is also using a single dial-up connection for credit card transactions and manual credit card machines. Students, staff and visitors may also use cash or checks to make purchases as well.

 

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