Callaway Gardens alerts customers about credit card security breach

Callaway Gardens is reporting a breach of its credit card security system in an announcement Friday, suggesting that private customer information that can be used for financial fraud might have been taken.

The vacation getaway was notified by a credit card processing company that it was among several targets of “sophisticated fraudulent credit card activity” after consumers reported counterfeit purchases.

“In our team’s immediate investigation, fraudulent malware was detected, contained and removed,” Barry Morgan, the chief finance officer of Callaway Gardens, said in a statement on the Callaway website. The malware allowed the possible collection of personal information, so he encouraged guests to review and monitor their credit and debit card statements.

Police were alerted and “top experts in the field of computer forensics” were retained for further investigation and for recommendations about additional security measures, the statement said. The resort is anticipating large crowds over Memorial Day weekend and sought to reassure guests that its financial systems were now secure and being monitored.

In an email to customers in its database, Callaway said it alerted American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies, and encouraged anyone who used a credit card at the property prior to May 24 to take preventative measures. If they spot any unauthorized account activity, they should contact their financial institution, the local police, their state attorney general (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov).

Guests should also spot check their credit rating by contacting the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies for a credit report. Free reports are available in several ways: by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, by calling (877) 322-8228 or by completing the Annual Credit Report Form on the Federal Trade Commission website.

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