There are a lot of safeguards to protect consumers from identity theft. But one local small business owner says there isn't much to protect merchants.
With a name like Albany Computer you can bet they sell a lot of computers. Items that can ring up large bill, but which makes it all the more costly when a scammer comes along.
"We had a customer call in and place a telephone order with us. We didn't find out until almost two months later that it was a stolen identity," said Albany Computer Owner Christy Goodwin.
Now they're out thousands of dollars after someone used a fraudulent card to buy several new computers.
"In digging through this we found out that the issuing bank was actually in Japan for a Japanese citizen and there is no protection in place for merchants," said Goodwin.
If you've ever made a purchase online you know about that three digit security number on the back of most credit cards. Christy says she entered in that number when the telephone customer made the purchase. It didn't even match the number on the real card, but the bank still approved the transaction.
Now she is out of the computers and the bank wants the money from her.
"We were never trained how to read the codes on the receipts. They were either approved or declined once the security information was entered. All of those procedures were followed; however they offered no protection in a stolen identity case," said Goodwin.
What is a business to do to stay protected? Investigators say if something looks suspicious it may be better just to walk away from the sale.
"If you're going to do some sort of over the phone transaction, or over the internet transaction, its best if you are the one that initiates it and also that you are dealing with people that have a reputation of being trusted," said Secret Service Agent Billy Joe Powers.