Protecting against fraud

Updated: 07/17/2014 6:05 PM
Created: 07/17/2014 5:15 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen

News10NBC is continuing to follow the investigation into a credit card breach at a popular local restaurant. Authorities believe a rogue server at the Cheesecake Factory in Pittsford was responsible for stealing the identities of 19 customers.

You can become a victim in just a matter of seconds as the customers of the Cheesecake Factory found out. As these schemes become more elaborate and technology makes them more prevalent, consumers and restaurant owners have to be on guard.

At McArdles Restaurant in Fairport, owner John Albert is constantly keeping his attention on his customers and his staff. He says hearing News10NBC’s report Wednesday night on the credit card fraud that victimized customers of the Cheesecake Factory was a bit of a wakeup call.

John Albert, McArdles Restaurant, said, “We didn't think much about it, probably because we haven't had any issues. Again, as things happen, it sort of changes your priority."

It was at the Cheesecake Factory where, according to a federal agent's affidavit, a waitress was stealing credit card information from customers. According to court documents, she was using a handheld skimming device to read the cards' magnetic strips. The affidavit suggests it was part of a wider credit card fraud operation run by a Penfield man. Andres Vasquez, of Penfield, is now charged with 18 counts of felony forgery.

Steven Miller is with Electronic Merchant Systems, a company that processes credit card payments for restaurants and other businesses.  He says he regularly meets with his clients to talk with them about technology and risks. He says protecting customer information starts with proper training.

Steven Miller, Electronic Merchant Systems, said, "That restaurant manager is on the floor watching every table. They turn the tables, watching what’s clean and watching guests. If he's not trained to watch how his servers are handling that credit card, it is the fault of the owner or corporation because he just wasn't trained to watch.

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