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We earlier posted the OfficeHours No. 3 business story of 2013: the huge credit card fraud that's ensnarled many customers of stores served by the URM Stores computer network.
Your deadline to win a $10 coffee card is 10 p.m. tonight. Just post a comment here and tell us your pick for top area business story. Winner will be chosen at random if several guesses are all correct.
Here are four stories that won't make it into the final two:
- The legal hassles and slow resolution of the Greg Jeffreys downtown property lawsuits, primarily connected to the Ridpath.
- The start of a new Target store on the Upper South Hill.
- The first spade work on a Convention Center hotel in downtown, begun by hotelier Walt Worthy.
- The housing market rebound of 2013, for both Spokane and Kootenai County.
So those are four you can scratch off your list. Again: deadline is 10 p.m. this evening.
Tonight at 10 p.m. is the deadline to submit entries for the Top Business Story of 2013 for the Spokane North Idaho area.
Just place a comment here or on the two earlier posts that listed Stories No. 5 and No. 4: They were the rehab and cleanup of the Mead smelter and the renovation of a number of major buildings in the downtown area.
Here's the No. 3 story of the year: The widespread credit and debit card fraud connected to data breaches at Spokane's URM Stores. The grocery cooperative operates as a data transmitter for more than 120 regional stores. At some point in the fall, an unknown hacker got access to secure card data. The impact is still uncounted and no doubt affects several thousand local residents (coming a few weeks before the national credit card fraud connected with Target stores).
The most recent Spokesman.com story on that problem is here.
Later this afternoon, check back and we'll announce three stories of major significance that ARE NOT among the top business stories of the year
Spokane police say area residents are receiving “phishing” text messages from a scammer posing as a bank official needing personal information to reactive credit cards supposedly shut down because of fraudulent activity.
Spokane Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lydia Taylor couldn’t say how many such text messages have been received.
But she noted “a large number” of would-be victims told at least two Spokane area credit unions they received the bogus messages sent from the number (208) 758-0211.
The scammer appears to be exploiting fears generated by recent reports of widespread card fraud for customers of Spokane and North Idaho grocery stores.
Last month, more than a thousand area credit or debit cards were involved in a data breach. URM Stores, a Spokane-based cooperative that handles card payments for several area chains, including Rosauers, Harvest Foods and Yoke’s Fresh Market, has said it’s patched whatever security hole in its network was exploited.
Area law enforcement has made no arrests and say they have not yet identified the source of the credit card exploit.
The scam tells would-be victims their credit or debit card is inactive due to fraud. It can be reactivated if the recipient calls back to provide account information, Taylor said.
A 28-year-old man and a 17-year-old runaway linked by police to check thefts in Coeur d'Alene are in custody.
Michael Graham Wilkins and Lacey Lynn Fugate were arrested at the Lake Drive Motel, 316 E. Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive, Friday about 6:30 p.m. after detectives received a tip that they were there, Coeur d'Alene police said today.
Police found property purchased with stolen credit cards and checks in the motel room, including a printer and package of blank checks purchased online.
Officers arrested Wilkins and Fugate on warrants out of Douglas County, Oregon, where Roseburg is.
They face new charges of grand theft and burglary in Kootenai County.
Thieves stole a a credit card from a car near Sanders Beach in Coeur d'Alene last week, then used it to rack up $185 in charges at Walgreens.
Surveillance photos from Walgreens released on Thursday show a man and two women, and police are looking for tips on their identities.
A photo of their vehicle also is included. The victim told police he'd left his wallet in his unlocked car in the 900 block of East Young Avenue on July 26.
The vehicle was secure between midnight and 4 a.m. That's when the owner got a call from Citi Bank reporting fraudulent activity on his credit card and discovered his car had been prowled.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Coeur d'Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.