Operation French Fry

Hoping to crack down on one of the nation’s fastest-growing crimes, federal investigators on Friday revealed a new task force that has been targeting identity thieves in Southern California and cautioned the public to be on guard: Your mail carrier, mortgage broker or even the server at your favorite restaurant may be to blame.Operation French Fry, found that servers at the Cheesecake Factory, T.G.I. Friday’s and other restaurant chains secretly swiped diners’ ATM and credit cards through a “skimmer,” which is similar to the machines legally used to charge cardholders.

The data recorded on skimmers were then provided to alleged ringleaders Kresimir Matuzovic and Nour-Eddine Messaghrou, who have been accused of re-encoding or restripping the information onto their own cards.