By John Ford
Daily News Managing Editor
July 25, 2007
You may have gotten this in your in-box, a missive not to use your
credit or debit cards at two area restaurants for fear that someone will
use the financial information on the magnetic strip to clean out your
It's good advice, according to Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland.
Copeland said his office has been investigating reports of cleaned out
accounts after bank cards were used at Nansy's and El Charro's, Neosho
But it isn't the employees who are gaining access to credit card
information, he said: It's hackers.
Our investigators say they don't suspect anybody there at the
restaurants, but they do suspect their credit card system has been
hacked by somebody else, Copeland said. It's not probably that actual
system there, it's the system where the motherboard is.
Det. Randy Scott, the sheriff's department in-house computer expert, and
other investigators are working on the case, Copeland said.
Some other advice to prevent identity theft, from the Missouri Attorney
General's Office and area bankers:
* Do not give your credit or debit card to the waiter or waitress.
Instead, take it to the cash register yourself;
* Don't give out your Social Security or account numbers unless you
initiate the contact;
* Leave your Social Security off of checks and driver's license;
* Shred trash with sensitive information, including convenience checks
and credit card offers you get in the mail;
* Send sensitive material using a post office drop box, instead of your
mailbox at home;
* Carry only the credit cards and documents you need on a daily basis.
Do not carry your Social Security card;
* Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers and get fewer solicitations
at home: www.optoutprescreen.com or 888-567-8688;
* Use virus protection, a firewall and spyware detection on your
The Missouri attorney general's office also advises people watch their
monthly credit card and bank statements for unauthorized charges and
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