Sedona shop owner turns to On Your Side after credit card system is frozen

Andrea Carusetta got an urgent email from Square telling her they were temporarily freezing transfers because of suspicious activity on the bakery’s debit card.
Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:40 PM MST
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SEDONA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A Sedona businesswoman says she has a huge problem. There was a breach of her credit card system, so she can’t make any sales. That means no revenue is coming in, so she turned to On Your Side for help.

During the summer, Valley residents flock to the red rocks of Sedona to take in the amazing scenery and get a little break from the heat. And in Sedona’s Tlaquepaque shopping center, you’ll find a business called Cream and Cake Couture, selling treats made from scratch right in the shop. “We’re doing really, really well,” said Andrea Carusetta, the store’s owner. “We sell ice cream, handmade fresh desserts, great coffee drinks.”

Carusetta opened the store six years ago and kept it open and staffed through the worst of COVID-19. “When the pandemic hit, this was all plastic guards,” said Carusetta, pointing to the front counter. “We stopped taking cash because it was too germy.”

That means all sales are made using a credit card system from a company called Square. At the end of every day, all of Andrea’s daily revenue is automatically transferred from the Square system to the bakery’s bank account. But late last month, Carusetta got an urgent email from Square telling her they were temporarily freezing those transfers because of suspicious activity on the bakery’s Square debit card. But Carusetta says she never had a debit card. “I had to pause, open a new Google window and do a search for ‘what is a Square debit card,’” she said.

Somehow hackers had made a charge on the bakery’s account -- even though Carusetta has never had such a card. By freezing the transfers, Square allowed Carusetta to keep the business running while making sure her money remained safe, but with the account frozen, Carusetta can’t access the cash. “Right now that money was earmarked for payroll which I have to make in two days,” she said. “So unless those funds are released, I don’t have the money to pay my staff.”

Carusetta’s efforts to resolve the problem through Square’s customer service went nowhere. With payday looming, along with the busy Labor Day weekend, she called On Your Side for help. “I feel like you are a voice for people like me that don’t have any other avenue to get this communication out,” she said. On Your Side got a hold of Square. The next morning, the bakery’s account was unfrozen and Carusetta was back in business.

Square gave us this statement:

“Millions of individuals in the US have their personal information compromised annually through data breaches that occur on various platforms outside of Square. In some instances, fraudsters are able to use this compromised information to access legitimate sellers’ accounts. We actively monitor for these situations and have policies and processes in place to protect our sellers’ funds and assist them with regaining control of their accounts. Additionally, to better protect their accounts, we strongly encourage all sellers to enable security features such as two-factor authentication.”

Carusetta says she owes it all to On Your Side. “Absolutely, you saved the day,” she said. “I was able to pay my employees. I needed that money to make payroll and you came through. If it wasn’t for you I think I would still be banging my head against the wall with this company. I really believe that.”

Carusetta’s very happy to have her business back on track. We thank Square for responding to On Your Side so quickly and getting this resolved without anyone missing a paycheck.