LCT Magazine Article

GLENDALE, Calif. -- A credit card processing company CEO and his limo operator client got a bit of a hero's greeting May 12 during a Greater California Livery Association meeting.

Jeff Brodsly, the CEO of Chosen Payments, and Adrian Davis, CEO of Five Star Transportation in San Diego, successfully lured an alleged credit card scammer into a chauffeured pick-up in the city's Gaslamp Quarter Tuesday morning and had San Diego police ready to apprehend the suspect.

It all unfolded because Brodsly had been alerting his clients and the chauffeured transportation industry in recent weeks of a credit card scammer ripping off operators. Brodsly spread the warnings via e-blasts, social media and a blog. Davis, who had seen the warnings, clued in to the suspect Tuesday morning when the man called to arrange a ride with an inactive credit card and a bogus security code.

The practice -- in which the defrauder often tells the vendor he will check with his bank and then calls back with a fake security code -- results in chargebacks to limo operators about a month later when the bank discovers the code was illegitimate.

The fraud has cost operators that process with Chosen Payments more than $35,000 in recent months, and one particular scammer has defrauded merchants, including hotels and restaurants, $300,000 during that time.

In one case, Tom Soliman, owner of Allstarz Limousine in Orange County, Calif., a Chosen Payments client and active GCLA member, was scammed for close to $15,000. Soliman gave a statement to San Diego police Tuesday afternoon upon word of the arrest.

Chosen Payments advises clients and operators to take these precautions to avoid credit card fraud:

Make sure you never take an authorization code from anyone except your credit card processor or the card-issuing bank.

Never run an offline sale in this scenario.

Know your client. If it seems shady, don't do the trip.

Check ID and match it to the credit card.

Request a cc auth form and copy of ID prior to the trip.

If you're doing business with a new client, get them to show your driver their ID and have them sign a trip ticket and sales slip while comparing the signature to their driver's license.

Brodsly, who is a sponsor of the GCLA, detailed the sting Tuesday evening during his presentation and recognized Davis to wide applause. Brodsly detailed the sting in a social media post Tuesday afternoon:

"Adrian read the fraud warning that Chosen Payments put out a few weeks ago and when he saw this name pop up as a reservation he was educated by our warning. The [alleged] fraudster 'Charles Barbero' booked a reservation with Adrian for this morning. Adrian immediately called Chosen Payments and got in touch with me. The two of us collaborated our efforts to try and stop this scammer.

"With the help of a Chosen employee residing in San Diego, we collaborated efforts to stage a pickup requested by this known fraudster, allowed him to go through the motions of defrauding Adrian, and we collected all the evidence needed. Then with the bravery of Adrian, and a Chosen Payments employee, we were able to get this fraudster arrested and booked in jail!"

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