Roseville Police Department detectives investigating the compromise of hundreds of credit card numbers have isolated the problem to one Roseville restaurant, Paul Martin’s American Bistro. Detectives also believe the problem was isolated to computer systems at the restaurant’s site, and did not involve the external financial services network or any third-party data processing service.
It appears that unknown cyber-criminals, who could be operating from anywhere in the world, were able to access the restaurant’s credit card processing system and steal credit card numbers, which were then sold to other criminals and used to make fraudulent purchases.
Paul Martin’s is cooperating fully with the investigation. They have brought in computer security specialists to examine their system to confirm they have found the only breach, and to put processes in place to prevent further problems. The restaurant is open for business, and will be using alternate methods to process credit card transactions until the cyber-security team has completed their work.
“The management and staff of Paul Martin’s American Bistro thank the Roseville Police Department, Secret Service and others involved in helping identify and solve the source of the data breach”, stated Ben Magana, Operating Partner of the Roseville restaurant. “We are doing everything in our power to ensure that our systems are safe, secure and locked down.”
The Roseville Police Department is investigating an unusual number of compromised credit cards, where thieves have collected credit card numbers and used them fraudulently to make purchases. Many recent credit card fraud victims have one thing in common: at some time over the past several months, they used their credit cards at Roseville restaurants that use the same third-party credit processing service. It is unknown at this time whether any local suspects are involved in the fraud, or if cyber-criminals elsewhere found a way to hack into the electronic process.
It appears that the victims’ credit card numbers were compromised electronically at some point between the point of sale and the data processing service that relays transactions between merchants and their customers’ lending institutions. When criminals collect credit card information electronically, they typically sell the information to other criminals, who then use the credit card numbers to manufacture false credit cards or to purchase items online.
Because of the scope of the investigation, the Roseville Police Department is working with the U.S. Secret Service. Several financial institutions have already alerted their customers that their credit cards were, or may be, compromised, and have taken steps to protect their customers.
It is important for all consumers to monitor their banking and credit card transactions frequently. If you notice unauthorized transactions or attempted unauthorized transactions, take the following steps:
Contact your lending institution immediately to notify them of the potential compromise
Ask the lending institution to block your old credit card and issue a new one with a new number.
If you find any unauthorized transactions or attempts on your credit card, file a report with your local law enforcement agency.
Continue to closely monitor your credit card transactions, and if fraud has occurred, place a fraud alert with the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experion. (Contact your lending institution first–they may already have a plan to provide this service for you.)
While criminals are able to use stolen credit card numbers temporarily, in most circumstances the financial institution will be able to reimburse customers for their losses and block the account from future intrusions using the compromised credit card number.
Contact information for the three major credit reporting bureaus: