When you go out for a meal with friends, family or coworkers to a favorite local haunt, you tend to think you can trust the servers who take your order on a regular basis and send you on your way with a friendly smile. However, there is no telling who could be compelled to commit identity theft, as even people you see on a daily basis could potentially leave you having to report credit fraud.
This is what more than 100 Manhattanites learned the hard way, when they discovered that two employees of a popular lunchtime hangout had stolen their identities in a large-scale skimming fraud.
“These days, it’s more likely that a New Yorker will have credit card information stolen at an ATM, a parking garage, a restaurant, or a shop than be mugged in a darkened alley,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said in a statement}.
The employees committed the identity theft by simply recording the victims’ credit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes over a period of several months. Nigel McCollum, 22, was the ring leader of the fraud, as investigators found two skimmers in his apartment – devices that replace regular credit card scanners and record the information stored on a card’s magnetic strip for later use. They also found two encoding devices, an embosser, stacks of black cards and hundreds of forged credit cards from numerous other operations.
It wasn’t long before many of the victims were forced to report credit fraud, leading investigators to discover McCollumsidentity theft operation. This just goes to show that no matter how much you think you can trust the barista or waitress you order from on a daily basis, even they could have ulterior motives when handling your credit card.