The lunch rush at the South McAllen Olive Garden Italian Restaurant is often a hurried affair.
Waiters rush from kitchen to table with heaping plates of pasta, diners keep an eye on the clock in a rush to get back to work and at the end of their meals customers throw plastic on to receipt trays with little thought.
But after the indictment of one of the restaurant’s employees last month, some of the eatery’s patrons learned a hard lesson in keeping a closer eye on their cards.
A federal magistrate judge has issued an arrest warrant for a waitress who allegedly stole credit card information from dozens of diners.
Using a device she kept in her purse, 44-year-old Patricia Kaefer sold the pilfered financial information for $5 per card, the U.S. Secret Service said in court filings.
The practice — known as “skimming” — typically involves using a portable device to copy encoded information stored on the magnetic strip of a debit or credit card. Data required for purchases such as the card number and expiration date are stored in the machine and can be encoded on fake or cloned cards using a separate device.