South Texas is suddenly on the front lines of last month's well publicized data breach against Target stores, after two Mexican citizens were arrested in McAllen with 96 forged credit and debit cards strapped to their bodies, 1200 WOAI news reports.
McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez confirmed to 1200 WOAI news that all of the cards were made out in the names and with the account numbers of credit card information which was stolen from Target.
"In the first set of transactions, they were all data that was reported to us as being part of the data breach that Target suffered late last year," Rodriguez said.
Officials said the two residents of Monterrey, identified as Mary Carmen Garcia, 27, and Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, were attempting to sneak back into the U.S. to continue a spending spree which began earlier this month when Rodriguez said 'tens of thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise was purchased from stores in the Rio Grande Valley using the stolen personal information.
"Someone in Mexico is obviously buying the data and then producing the cards, and then trying to make the runs into the area to try to capitalize on it," he said.
Rodriguez says the pair, which are held in custody in McAllen, were identified through surveillance video taken at several major retailers within in the past week where the phony cards were used.
"The accounts that were being used were part of a data set that was involved in what we call now the Target data breach."
Officials say the credit card numbers are being used 'by region.' They say, for example, the thieves are careful to use cards with Latino names in heavily Latino parts of the country, which is why the Rio Grande Valley was a target.
They also say the thieves picked the Sunday before the MLK Day holiday, because they figured they would be out of the country before the banks got back to work on Tuesay and realized that the credit and debit cards were bogus.