ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany restaurant owner is taking steps to protect his businesses and customers after an increase in area credit card fraud.
Some business owners believe hackers are targeting small Albany establishments by stealing credit card numbers.
The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office and the Secret Service are both investigating the credit card fraud cases. Businesses are also doing their part by taking steps to catch crooks ahead of time.
Austin Newman, the owner of 47 Newman's Bar and Grill and Austin's Firegrill, is requiring his servers to check customers' identification when they use a credit card at his two restaurants. "They are making fake credit cards with fake names and they are using them," said Newman.
Investigators are trying to determine how the credit card numbers are being stolen. Three banks and dozens of customers have reported being victimized, and many more might not yet realize they have been targeted.
"It could cripple banks. It could cripple restaurants. It could cripple car washes," said Newman. "Whoever's taking credit cards, this could cripple their business if they don't get pro-active. And that's what we are doing."
Newman brought in Invision Technologies to build firewalls to protect his customers as well as his computers.
"We're in Albany Georgia, and smaller businesses think I'm just in Albany. Nobody in anywhere in the world is worried about me right now," said Invision Technologies Director of Data Network Services Josh Carter.
Experts at Invision Technologies are concerned that many South Georgia businesses have almost no protection against hackers on their computer systems.
Sheriff's investigators recommend you check your credit card and bank accounts on a daily basis, while investigations continue.