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Hacker steals credit card info from restaurant patrons

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- A popular Mexican restaurant with several locations in Michiana was hit by what the restaurant believes is an international group of cyber criminals. Several credit cards used by diners have been compromised.

The company is now working to determine how their system was hacked into.

Michigan City resident Matthew Barr believes his debit card number was stolen after eating at the Long Beach Hacienda.

"We got a phone call from our bank's fraud department and basically they said we've got some transactions in Canada and they said it didn't seem right- and basically asked us if we were there. And we obviously confirmed that we were not,” said Barr.

The restaurant's Facebook page shows Barr wasn't the only one who had his credit card compromised.

Jeff Leslie, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hacienda Mexican Restaurants issued this statement to ABC57:

We are investigating a compromise of the Michigan City Hacienda computer system.  This is a very serious crime against Hacienda and our guests and we are doing everything possible to keep guest information secure and to bring the cybercrime thieves to justice.

Immediate action was taken to secure credit transactions.  All Hacienda locations were taken off line on Friday, January 4.  Credit card transactions are being handled by modem.  We have hired an international computer security company to conduct a thorough investigation of activities at all locations.

We suggest individuals check their credit card transactions and report any unexplained activity to their banks.

Hacienda has been earning the trust of our guests since 1978.  We will continue to work to keep that trust.  We deeply regret the inconvenience this crime has caused our guests.

So what can you do to protect yourself against these cyber criminals?

"In a case like that it’s very difficult to prevent,” said Barr.

Barr knows this because he deals with cyber crimes daily- he is the Cyber Crime Specialist at the Michigan City Police Department.

"It's very frustrating for the victim because a lot of times you track these things back out of the country so what do you do when you have a case that is based out of Russia or Africa? Your hands are tied as for a local government agency following up on that,” said Barr.

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