McAllen, Texas, Police Chief Victor Rodriguez displays dozens of fraudulent credit cards that were confiscated by McAllen police after arresting a man and a woman on fraud charges tied to the December Target credit card breach.
Gabe Hernandez, The Monitor via AP
Daniel Guardiola Dominguez (left) and Mary Carmen Garcia
., Associated Press
Stolen Target data recovered in Texas arrest
- Article by: CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
- Associated Press
- January 21, 2014 - 5:40 AM
McALLEN, Texas – Account information stolen during the Target security breach is now being divided up and sold off regionally, a South Texas police chief said Monday after the arrest of two Mexican citizens who authorities say arrived at the border with 96 fraudulent credit cards.
McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said Mary Carmen Garcia, 27, and Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, both of Monterrey, Mexico, used cards containing the account information of South Texas residents. Rodriguez said they were used to buy tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise at national retailers in the area including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us.
“They’re obviously selling the data sets by region,” Rodriguez said.
Garcia and Guardiola were both being held Monday on state fraud charges.
Rodriguez said he did not know whether they were the first arrests related to the Target breach. Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder declined to comment Monday evening. “This is an active and ongoing investigation,” she said. “It’s complicated and it’s continuing.” The Minneapolis-based company said last week that it has stopped more than a dozen operations that sought to scam breach victims by way of e-mail, phone calls and text messages.
Late Monday, a federal official with knowledge of the case said there currently was no connection between the McAllen case and any investigation into the Target breach, but would not elaborate.
Target Corp. on Monday warned some Canadian customers that their personal data may have been compromised when hackers stole credit- and debit-card information from the discount chain’s U.S. operations last year. “We believe a small number of Canadian guests were impacted,” Snyder said in an e-mail. “We will be reaching out to all affected guests to the extent we have e-mail addresses for them, including Canadian guests.”
McAllen police began working with the U.S. Secret Service after a number of area retailers were hit with fraudulent purchases on Jan. 12. The Secret Service confirmed that the fraudulent accounts traced back to the original Target data breach, Rodriguez said.
With the help of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, investigators confirmed the suspects’ identities from records of when they had entered Texas in the same vehicle. Police prepared arrest warrants last week and waited for them to return.
On Sunday morning, federal officials alerted police that their two suspects were at the Anzalduas International Bridge trying to re-enter the United States. They were carrying 96 fraudulent cards, Rodriguez said, adding that investigators suspect Garcia and Guardiola were singling out Sundays for their sprees hoping that the banks would not be as quick to detect the fraud.
The Target breach is believed to have involved the information of 70 million customers.
Overseas on Monday, senior executives at three credit card companies in South Korea offered to resign after a theft of client data that may have affected 20 million. The case became known earlier this month, when prosecutors arrested a technician hired by the Korea Credit Bureau to help improve their systems.
Staff writer Mary Lynn Smith, Bloomberg News and the New York Times contributed to this report.
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