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 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 Texas fraud charges.
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 from late last year, Rodriguez said.
Investigators believe the two were involved in both the acquisition of the fraudulent account data and the production of the cards, but only part of what must have been a much broader conspiracy. Rodriguez also alluded to a link with Eastern Europe or Russia, but did not provide additional details.
The Target security breach is believed to have involved 40 million credit and debit card accounts and the personal information of 70 million customers.