Secret Service, Boston Police Investigate Credit Card Fraud at Allston Liquor Store
Boston Police are working with officials from the Secret Service to investigate several incidents of credit card fraud after victims reportedly had their information stolen following purchases made at multiple Allston stores.
While Boston police officials would not discuss the specifics of the ongoing investigation, Reddit users said they started to notice that fraudulent purchases were made using their credit card information after buying alcohol from Blanchard’s Liquors on Harvard Avenue in Allston.
One user wrote:
I live next to Blanchard’s and go there all the time. I recently had [two] cards stolen.
Another contributor said they filed a police report in District 14, in Brighton, because of issues with stolen credit card information after making purchases at the liquor store. The conversations stemmed from a post where a contributor claimed her and her boyfriend’s credit card information was stolen more than 11 times in a short time span after making purchases in the Allston area. Boston Police said that the Secret Service is now handling the investigation, and that it’s “out of Boston Police’s hands” at this time.
“There are a number of different locations where credit card fraud was reported in the Allston area,” according to Officer Neva Coakley, a spokesperson from the BPD, who added that Blanchard’s is one of the locations that was part of the overall investigation, but not the primary spot. “Fraudulent charge reports were made on Saturday which cited credit card [purchases]. We have had a couple of calls on this now.”
A representative from Blanchard’s said in a statement on Monday that the store was a victim of “a sophisticated malware attack” at its point-of-purchase terminals, which may have led to the stolen information.
“Authorities believe that some of the fraudulent transactions may have been linked to legitimate transactions in Blanchard’s Allston store. We have been working with local police departments, the FBI and the Secret Service, as well as independent IT consultants and experts to examine systems and processes,” according to a statement from the store’s manager, Joe Gomes. “Blanchard’s continues to investigate, but it believes that the issue was contained by Saturday and the malware neutralized and removed.”
As the investigation continues, Blanchard’s has put their credit card devices back online, however, Gomes cautioned customers to keep an eye on their bank statements.
Boston magazine is awaiting reports requested from the Secret Service’s Boston division. Banks affiliated with the customers who reported the fraudulent charges are also assisting in the investigation, according to police.