Picante restaurant is victim of credit card scam

Frances Dinkelspiel reports:

Picante, the popular Mexican restaurant on 6th Street [in Berkeley, California] , has been the target of an international credit card fraud operation, its owner says today.

Thieves from as far away as Russia managed to penetrate the restaurant’s credit card encryption system and steal the numbers of dozens of customers, says Jim Maser, who has owned Picante for 16 years. The thieves then used the stolen numbers to create phony credit cards, which they turned around and sold, he says.


Picante first became aware of the security breach last Thursday, May 5, and has been working with the U.S. Secret Service since then, says Maser. The restaurant hired a private security company to find the source of the breach, fix it, and make sure it does not happen again. The restaurant is replacing its credit card swiping hardware and software.

The Secret Service arrested a number of people on Tuesday in connection with the theft, says Maser.

Read more on Berkeleyside.

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  1. Golde - May 13, 2010

    Interesting. Could this be part of a case that involved many of the other retail businesses that were recently skimmed?

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