Thieves Don Repair Uniforms To Install Card Swipe Skimmers

A gang of data thieves in Ireland has well learned the lesson that the best place to hide is in plain sight. The group hit a large number of retailers throughout Ireland and grabbed more than 20,000 payment cards by placing skimmers on card-swipes by wearing what appeared to be maintenance uniforms and saying that they were performing bank repairs.

"The criminals have been going into shops claiming to be engineers working on the terminals," Una Dillon, head of card services at the Irish Payment Services Organization Staff was quoted as telling The Irish Examiner. "Staff are used to their bank officials coming to update terminals so unfortunately they have been able to do that."

Dillon said that police have taken possession of "a lot of the devices" along with closed-circuit video footage. "We have a list of all the card numbers that have been used. They have either been blocked or restrictions put on those cards," she said. "With the devices recovered, it may just be that the cards were only saved and the criminals did not have a chance to get hold of the card numbers."

Not so lucky were a group of some 16 restaurateurs in Louisiana and Mississippi, whose POS systems were hit in a wireless attack not dissimilar from ones that hit TJX, OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble, BJ's Wholesale Club and the Sports Authority.

The hungry hackers limited their attack to those 16 restaurants in those two states before trying to sell them for between $1 and $100 each, U.S. Secret Service Agent Sean Connor told the Associated Press.

Among all retailers, restaurants have the best reputation for having the weakest security, thereby attracting thieves looking for soft targets.