ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A cashier at a Sunset Valley restaurant was arrested after surveillance video showed the worker swiping customers credit cards on a small device in her hand, police said.
In video released by the Round Rock police department, you can see the cashier take a customer’s card, swipe it near a small device in her left hand, and then hand it back to the customer. Authorities declined to name the store.
The movement is so slight, and so quick, it’s not surprising many customers are completely unaware their information has been stolen.
“It happened to me a few months ago,” Jason McGaugh said as he swiped his card at a gas station. “I’m still using my cards, but I’m more careful now.”
McGaugh was in Texas when he got a call from his bank saying his credit card had just been used to charge several hundred dollars in South Carolina. “I told them that wasn’t me!” His bank paid him back, but he still doesn’t know how they got his information.
Nationwide, investigators say within minutes a person’s stolen numbers can be used and then sold on underground websites.
Round Rock police said they have arrested three others and more arrests are expected as the investigation continues. Authorities said the cashier was “recruited” and promised payment for each swipe.
Here is the message from the Round Rock police Facebook page:
Round Rock Police Department has been investigating a credit card skimming criminal ring since May 2013.
The scheme of skimming is someone taking a second swipe of you credit card information with a small hand held device. The skimmer captures the magnetically encoded information from your credit card, or linked ATM card, and stores it into its internal memory. It could be a restaurant waiter, bartender, fast food drive up window worker, or anywhere else you have used you credit card to pay. The devices can hold thousands of credit card numbers that hold your personal account information.
Round Rock investigators recently interviewed a suspect arrested for being in possession of a skimming device at a central area restaurant. Detectives observed the suspect take several “second swipes” of a credit card using the covert hand held device in her left hand then concealed the device in her pants pocket. Those victims were immediately notified on scene by police detectives. The suspect was “recruited,” on the promise of being paid per credit card information obtained, which may have totaled several thousand dollars in payment due to the number of skims that were captured inside the skimmer. Investigation revealed the business was not involved. Rather, the involved employee took advantage of their position and direct contact with the customers providing payment.
Customers are reminded to pay close attention when providing their credit/debit cards as payment to avoid being victimized. When possible, customers are encouraged to personally use point of sale devices when conducting credit transactions.
If you believe your financial accounts have been compromised, you are encouraged to notify your bank immediately to stop any additional fraudulent transactions. A police report for identity theft may be filed at the police department where the fraudulent charges occurred. It is not always known where the transactions occurred at the initial time of discovery. An identity theft report can also be filed at the law enforcement agency where the victim resides or works.
** Correction: An earlier version of this story reported the cashier worked at a Round Rock restaurant based on information provided to KXAN by the Round Rock Police Department. The cashier actually worked at a restaurant in Sunset Valley, according to an arrest affidavit. RRPD was working the investigation because one of the men suspected in the case was arrested in Round Rock.