Police don’t know how many people’s bank information may have been stolen after a local restaurant was hacked.
During the last week, Winchester Police have been receiving more and more reports from banks about fraudulent charges showing up on customers’ cards. The out-of-state charges occurred after the cards were used at Puerta Grande, a local Mexican restaurant.
Winchester Police detective Dennis Briscoe said the data was being hacked somewhere between the restaurant and the processing center, and was not from restaurant employees.
“It was nothing to do with anyone working at Puerta Grande at all,” Briscoe said
Detectives are still trying to identify the location of the intrusion, Briscoe said. The Secret Service has been contacted for its assistance in the investigation, he said.
The department began receiving reports from banks about fraudulent charges a week ago, Briscoe said, and it’s built since then. Briscoe estimated that as many as 50 to 100 people could be affected. So far, all the fraudulent charges were made in June and the first few days of July, he said.
All of the fraudulent charges were made out of state, which should be easy to spot on bank statements, he said. One person’s money even wound up in the Dominican Republic.
“It’s pretty broad,” he said. “That’s more than one person skimming cards.”
The owners of Puerta Grande, who also own Don Senor and El Camino Real, have installed a new, separate credit card scanning system with better encryption in the wake of the hacking, Briscoe said.
Puerta Grande’s old system was separate from the other two restaurants, which did not appear to be compromised, he said.
“They’re a victim in this as well,” Briscoe said. “It’s set up a lot different than before as a safeguard.
They’ve disabled the other way of processing credit cards.”
Briscoe recommended that people keep a close eye on their bank statements and report any suspicious or fraudulent charges to their bank and cancel the card. Some banks may require a police report, he said.
He also suggested keeping visual contact with the debit or credit card any time it is used in public to prevent other theft.
Contact Fred Petke at firstname.lastname@example.org.