Local not-for-profit falls victim to credit card scam

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local not-for-profit fell victim to a credit card scam called "card tumbling," a process scammers use to check if random stolen credit card numbers still work.

The Evanston Youth Lacrosse Association, which teaches young boys and girls the game for low prices, offers nearly 20 scholarships each year to children who want to join but can't afford it.

In May, the group received a large bill from the company that handles its payment system, iPayment. A month earlier, card tumblers ran 23,000 transaction attempts on the not-for-profit's website, racking up $8,700 in transaction fees. Though iPayment was aware of the fees' fraudulent origins, it proceeded to charge the lacrosse association.

"We don't have it in our budget to incur such a large expense. It would be very difficult for us to withstand this," said David Singer, a longtime Evanston Youth Lacrosse Association coach.

"I said 'we need to have a refund, this is all fraud'," said Tina Jamieson, an administrator of the Evanston Youth Lacrosse Association. "They said 'well, we don't think that's going to happen.' We have coaches to pay and we have field rental. We are bare bones."

The I-Team contacted iPayment immediately, and the transactions were successfully reversed. iPayment responded with the following statement:

"Our team has worked directly with Mr. Singer and his organization to update the Association's necessary security parameters to ensure this type of activity does not reoccur. In addition, we have of course issued a full credit to the Association for all fees related to these external fraudulent activities."

Not-for-profit and charity websites are the easiest targets for "card tumbling" scams because they are less secure, which makes it easier for people to donate.

Experts said these organizations can better protect themselves by having a minimum donation amount, requesting credit card expiration dates and security codes, and by learning about fraud prevention measures for payment processing vendors.
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