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    Wesco Warns Customers of Credit Card Fraud

    Chain is working with feds to investigate store transactions between July 25 and Sept. 7.

    NORTH MUSKEGON, Mich. -- Wesco is working with federal authorities to track down possible fraud associated with credit-card use at some of the company's 51 Michigan gas station/convenience stores, the Muskegon Chronicle reported.

    The North Muskegon-based chain is urging its customers who used credit cards at Wesco stores in recent months to verify their transactions with their banks or other card issuers. The investigation so far indicates that the transactions may have happened between July 25 and Sept. 7, according to a prepared statement by the company. It is unknown whether customers had their credit-card numbers stolen after use at Wesco, the newspaper said.

    "Wesco has been notified that this is the window (of time)," said Ginny Seyferth, a Grand Rapids public-relations professional speaking on behalf of the company. She said Wesco has not heard from any card issuers about any instances of possible fraud since Sept. 7.

    It's not known if the affected credit-card transactions were only at gas pumps, inside stores or both. Also unknown is whether other businesses were targeted by the possible fraud.

    "We have only been notified about us," Seyferth told the Muskegon Chronicle. "We are not aware if there are other retailers involved."

    The company said it is "working closely" with the U.S. Attorney's office for the Western District of Michigan and the U.S. Secret Service. The U.S. Attorney's office in Grand Rapids declined to comment, citing its longstanding policy regarding open investigations.

    The investigation began when financial institutions reported to Wesco and local police agencies inaccurate charges on customer statements in several jurisdictions.

    Late last week, Wesco posted the following statement on its gasoline pumps at all stations: "In cooperation with federal authorities, we are investigating the possibility of credit card fraud associated with card use at our facilities. We encourage you to verify transactions with your financial institutions," according to the Muskegon Chronicle.

    "Our greatest concern is for the protection of our customers," said Wesco co-president Jerry Westgate in the statement, released in response to inquiries by the Chronicle. "We will continue to cooperate with federal authorities and credit-card companies on this matter."

    Wesco is making consumer protection information available on its Web site, www.gowesco.com. The site has a link to the consumer alerts area of the Michigan Attorney General's office, the newspaper said.

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