Saturday, February 26, 2011

Seattle: Capitol Hill credit card fraud wave tied to Broadway Grill

The investigation into more than 100 reported cases of credit card fraud across Capitol Hill has identified a Broadway restaurant as one "point of interest." Like the victims who have had their bank and credit accounts hit for fraudulent charges in the thousands of dollars, Capitol Hill's Broadway Grill is also a victim in this wave as personal and business accounts related to the restaurant have been compromised along with accounts of a not-yet-known number of customers who ate and drank at the popular eatery.

We received the following statement from one of the partners behind the Broadway Grill, Matthew Walsh:

We take this issue very seriously and are working with both the Seattle Police Department as well as the Secret Service to find the people who have done this to everyone and have them stopped.

We have gone above and beyond to make sure that our network is completely secure and that this sort of thing can't happen to any of our customers, there has been no decline in credit/debit card use because of our actions to ensure safety. Not only were our personal accounts compromised but our business savings and operating accounts have also been compromised.

We are a tiny little company trying to manage this huge monster of a restaurant and for someone to swoop in and try to completely wipe our accounts is a really scary thing. I am seriously worried about the future of our business without the support of our community. We have been growing by leaps and bounds since I took over in June, not only in our new menu and food quality but also in our day to day operation. It is my hope that we have touched enough lives over the years to be able to count on our beloved customers for their support and continued patronage in this difficult time.

We do not know yet if Broadway Grill represents the only breached business on the Hill or if investigators have identified others in the area. On Monday, CHS reported that the Secret Service's Electronic Crimes Task Force had identified and "reduced" the threat from what the lead agent called a "point of interest" in the Capitol Hill area.

We have checked with Kroger, the parent company for QFC, about any involvement in the investigation. A QFC spokesperson told CHS he ws not aware of any contact between investigators and either of the Broadway stores. "To my knowledge, we have not been contacted by police. When we are, we will work with them," the spokesperson said earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the situation is widespread enough and people are so wary that large area institutions are dealing with relatively sizable numbers of victims. We talked to Seattle University about a a growing number of Seattle University students and employees who have experience problems with financial accounts in recent days. But Mike Sletten director of public safety for the campus, told us that the cases he is aware of all appear to be part of the Capitol Hill wave. "They all reflect that Capitol Hill theme," Sletten said.

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