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      Local merchants being warned of pre-paid credit card scam

      Police report the caller says there is an issue with the credit card machine and asks the store employee to test it by swiping and loading pre-paid credit cards with various amounts.

      Area merchants are experiencing a scam with their credit card machines.

      According to the Traverse City Police Department, unknown people have been calling in the late night or early morning hours that claim to be from the retailer's credit card service company.

      Police report the caller says there is an issue with the credit card machine and asks the store employee to test it by swiping and loading pre-paid credit cards with various amounts.

      Police say the ruse continues for quite some time and sounds "very believable" because of background noise and the callers specific knowledge of the machine and terminology.

      The caller will request multiple amounts be loaded on the pre-paid cards and will eventually ask for the card pin numbers.

      Police say in each instance, callers say that a representative from the service company will come to the store the following morning to follow up.

      Police tracked the finances back to the source and they say it reveals money transfers to various other accounts out of state and in some cases, out of the country. The accounts have addresses to fictitious, abandoned or unoccupied buildings, police say.

      The companies being used in the scam include Money Pack, Green Dot Corporation, Incom Universal, and Buy Right pre-paid credit cards.

      Police say to never give out credit card information over the phone, no matter how believable the caller is.