Man says credit card info stolen at Buckhead restaurant


A local man wants to find the people who stole his credit card information.

He believes his card, along with others, was compromised at a restaurant.

It’s a story that’s more and more common, according to one security expert. The man says he had his card on him, but an alert from his credit card company said it was being used 60 miles away.

“My card never left my possession. They just somehow accessed my card number and then encoded that onto a credit card,” said Garn McCown.

McCown got an alert saying someone had used his credit card 5-6 times in Jasper, Georgia, Sunday night, so he got in his car and drove to the locations.

“I finally got a picture of the security tape and found the people that did it,” he said.

He says police helped him get surveillance from a Dollar General store. The picture shows a man and woman swiping a card with his information. He believes his card was compromised the last time he used it at a Buckhead restaurant.

“They think that they had that happen to a number of other people, but they’re not sure yet. They’re looking into it,” McCown said.

McCown’s theory is the restaurant’s public Wi-Fi network wasn’t set up separately from its business network, leaving transaction information vulnerable.

“We’re very vulnerable because you just don’t know who you’re handing your card to and you don’t know how secure that business is,” Gregory Evans, chief executive officer of High Tech Crime Solutions, said.

Evans is a cybersecurity expert who says getting card information is as easy as using a skimmer and then scanning it onto another card. He also says businesses need to make sure their public Wi-Fi is separate from their private Internet, which processes transactions.

Evans says 9 out of 10 restaurants fail to separate their Wi-Fi.

“I just want them to catch the scumbags who did it because it’s not just a one-off thing. They obviously targeted and it’s relatively sophisticated to do this,” said McCown.

Atlanta police say they are reaching out to McCown about his case to take an incident report and will be investigating.

Evans says one way customers can protect their information is to use programs such as Apple Pay or Google Pay where card numbers are encrypted instead of handing over a physical card.