Dozens of individuals from Winchester, a small Kentucky town east of Lexington have been targeted by hackers, according to a report earlier this week in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The newspaper claims between 50 and 100 diners at Puerta Grande, a small Mexican restaurant, were hit with bank fraud at some point in the last two weeks.
Local police started receiving calls from banks and individuals regarding the fraudulent charges early last week, but it’s unclear how or when exactly the scam began. Between 12 and 15 banks were hit by the fraud, including one that reportedly lost $30,000.
“It was way too much for an individual person to be at fault here,” according to Winchester Police Detective Dennis Briscoe, who was sourced in the Herald-Leader piece.
A number of victims discovered their credit and debit cards had been used to make purchases in North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and as far away as Singapore, Australia, Brazil and the Dominican Republic, according to various reports.
The Winchester Sun, the town’s local newspaper claims Puerta Grande has done away with their old credit card scanning system and replaced it with a new system complete with better encryption, following the hack.
According to an another blog post yesterday from Avivah Litan of Gartner, the scam has even affected the local police force. A quarter of Winchester officers “have had unauthorized charges on their credit cards as a result of this incident,” according to the post.
A study last year found that 75 percent of banking fraud was affecting individuals online. Yet while bank fraud has long affected online consumers and bankers alike, attackers thinking small, catering to small businesses and targeting the unsuspected have succeeded greatly.
We learned yesterday that targeted attacks against small businesses have increased this year. In 2012, 36 percent of targeted attacks were aimed at businesses consisting of 250 or less employees, up 18 percent from last year.