HOLT — A convenience store's management will prevent future identity theft by upgrading in-store credit card processing equipment and installing new gas pumps with standardized card readers within the next three weeks.
While the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office investigates several claims of fraudulent credit card charges at Brown's Grocery, customers have nothing to worry about, store manager Austin Valani said.
"Everything is secure," he said.
Since late April, a number of customers of Holt's only grocery store and gas station have approached Valani about fraudulent charges. OCSO spokesperson Michele Nicholson said there are at least three incidents of fraudulent charges connected to Brown's Grocery.
"We’ve had several complaints about credit card fraud since the first of May, and Brown’s Grocery is the common denominator," she said in an email. "The complainants say someone used their cards to make purchases in central/south Florida after they had used their cards at Brown’s."
Nicholson advises residents to regularly check bank statements and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
After upgrading and replacing the store's credit card processing equipment (at both registers and the outside gas pumps) on several occasions since the incident, Valani vows to ensure the incident does not happen again.
"We understand it's frustrating for the customers, who are victim(s) of this crime," he said in a statement. "We wanted to assure (everyone) that we are trying everything possible to make sure that this won't happen again."
Valani said he will assist investigators in any way possible.
"We are not sure how this happened ... but I hope they catch whoever is responsible," Valani said.