Wimmera and Grampians businesses are on alert after several attempts of credit card fraud.
Retail outlets in Horsham, Stawell and Ararat have been targeted.
A small number of incidents occurred in Ararat and Stawell and one incident has been reported in Horsham, while two people were arrested in Ararat for a credit card-skimming scheme in December.
Ararat Regional Business Association has emailed members to warn them about the scam.
Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Robertson of Horsham said retailers had alerted police to a number of incidents across the region involving credit card deception.
He said retailers reported that customers were manually entering debit or credit card details into the point of sale terminal rather than presenting a physical card.
He said banks revealed the transactions as forgeable.
He said while the method was not unusual to commit fraud or deception, it was new to the Wimmera.
He said forgeable transactions were usually larger purchases at major retailers.
“Generally speaking, they go to major retailers – a lot of the purchases identified in Stawell were for high-end goods and that was also the case for the incident in Horsham where items worth several thousands of dollars were attempting to be purchased,” he said.
“We suspect it is a fraudulent credit card number.”
Detective Senior Sergeant Robertson called on Wimmera retailers to be vigilant around how a transaction was made.
“They need to be vigilant of people they do not know or are making one-off, large purchases through this payment method,” he said.
“If staff have doubts, they should ask for identification. If they are still unsure about the transaction, then they should contact their bank. It’s their decision whether to proceed with the transaction.
“If they are in serious doubt then do not hesitate to call the police.”
Business Horsham executive administrator Wendy Mitchell said constant awareness and communication was key to avoid credit card fraud. She said business owners and staff needed to be mindful of the risks.
”Often staff are not updated with these activities and a transaction can occur unnoticed until it is too late to do much about it,” she said.
“If ever unsure, it’s vital that details are taken to follow up if some mishap occurs.”
Detective Senior Sergeant Robertson said people with information could contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or send information to the Horsham police service area’s Eye Watch Facebook page.