Sunday, August 17, 2008

Feds Seek to Nab Credit Thieves in La., Miss.


A ring of cyber-thieves has stolen tens of thousands of credit card numbers from Louisiana and Mississippi restaurants this year, leading to over $1 million in losses for the banks that issued them.

The restaurants began reporting the thefts beginning in March in Baton Rouge, followed by similar cases in Flowood, Miss., Lafayette, Lake Charles and West Monroe. The hackers have swiped credit and debit card numbers off 16 restaurants' computer systems, then sought to sell them for anywhere between $1 and $100 each, according to Special Agent Sean Connor of the U.S. Secret Service, an arm of the Treasury Department that investigates financial crimes.

"Once they get a big pile of credit card numbers, they turn around and sell them on the Internet," Connor said.

The cases appear connected and probably involve a criminal network that stretches overseas, which would be consistent with other identity theft cases, U.S. Attorney David Dugas said. A group indicted in a separate case earlier this month includes defendants from three continents.

Authorities have no total dollar figure for the losses sustained in the Louisiana-Mississippi cases because the victims _ local and national banks _ are still compiling figures, Connor said. The hardest hit is a bank reporting over $1.1 million in losses, he said.

More here.

Hat-tip: Pogo Was Right


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