A family-run printing company in Calgary is scrambling to rebuild its reputation and clientele after being targeted by a sophisticated scam.
Little Rock Printing was first notified about fraudulent credit card activity back at the start of the year. Company president Brian Kroeker said his team and an outside consultant quickly started an investigation into the company’s ecommerce website and decided to do a complete overhaul.
“Built a brand new site, launched it in March — great,” Kroeker told Global News. “Solved the problems.”
Turns out, he was too optimistic and the scammers were too quick. In the middle of the overhaul, Kroeker said the scammers were able to still infiltrate the system.
“They (scammers) had placed an order and dropped a PNG file in as an order and it had malware on it,” he explained. “They went in for a second and they skimmed data for that three-week period that we weren’t offline yet. They did a quick skim and left.”
“It was like a quick in and out.”
Kroeker told Global News he had no idea the scammers had accessed clients’ credit card information until it was posted on the discussion forum Reddit. The post asked if anyone had their credit card compromised after using the company’s services, and there were multiple replies.
“It was like a fire storm,” Kroeker said about the comments.
Most of the complaints centered on the fact that shortly after they had used the company’s printing services, their cards had been compromised.
Kroeker took to the forum to explain what happened, apologize and also state what the company had since done to protect information. He was asked why it took so long to contact clients, to which he responded he didn’t know how widespread the fraud was.
“We had just finished our investigation, we had targeted a group of people we thought were in that window,” he said. “The lesson is maybe we should have just emailed everybody.”
Little Rock started offering ecommerce years ago, but really ramped up the service during the pandemic.
“Pre-pandemic we sold about three per cent online,” Kroeker said. “During the pandemic we switched and now we’re about 99 per cent online.”
He added he certainly doesn’t regret the switch, but he does regret the position cyber attacks and other fraud can put small business owners in — something he said many people don’t realize.
“At the end of the day we’re on the victim side of this, you know. Not to mitigate the inconvenience and the pain in the butt and financial hurt on our customers but we’ve had to build a new website, pay for consultants, lose customers.”
Kroeker added it’s too soon to know how many customers the business has lost — he just wants clients to know he’s done all he can to mitigate any further risk.
He also wants other small businesses to know fraud can happen to anyone.
“They (scammers) didn’t come in the back door. They didn’t come in the front door. They’re very covert!”