MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hundreds of motorists who stopped for a bite to eat at a local McDonald’s may not have gotten the extra value meal they expected after a clerk was arrested for stealing credit card information, police said.

According to investigators, a 16-year-old girl who worked the drive-through lane at the McDonald’s on E. 7th Street in Monticello was charged with felony fraud for allegedly “skimming” credit cards of customers.

Skimmers are small machines that thieves use to copy credit card information and store it into a larger database. That information, police believe, was funneled to a larger group of individuals now under investigation. In this way, the employee’s victims still had their credit cards in hand while the employee was able to make illegal purchases without them knowing, police said.

“The juvenile, she was schooled on how to use the skimmer by some people that we’re still investigating, some juvenile, some adults, we’re just not sure how big it is yet,” said Wright County Sheriff Joe Haggerty.

Haggerty is now asking anyone who made a purchase during July and August at this location to check their credit card statements to check if they were compromised.

“We’re looking for victims to call us who … used their credit card and found out that there were some purchases made using their credit card that the victim didn’t make. We need those folks to give us a call at the Wright County Sheriff’s Office so that we can find out just exactly how many victims we have,” he said.

It’s unclear just how many victims there are, but Haggerty told WCCO he believes there are hundreds.

WCCO’s Samantha Smith Interviews Sheriff Joe Haggerty

Police are currently attempting to identify and catalog the employee’s victims, the majority of which were white females.

“She targeted generally Caucasian people, mostly females driving nicer vehicles, more expensive vehicles. That seemed to be the target,” said Haggerty.

Several suspects have been identified, police said.

If you stopped at the East 7th Street McDonald’s and think you fell victim to credit card fraud, call the Wright County Sheriff’s Office at 763-682-7733.

The Wright County Sheriff’s Office, the Lino Lakes Police Department and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the fraud.

McDonald’s has cooperated with the investigation, police said.

The suspect’s identity was not released as a safety precaution

Comments (23)
  1. Kelly says:

    This is ridiculous how this is becoming more and more to were you would not even feel comfortable using a credit or even a bank card anymore. I geuss the safest way is to go back and start using cash for everything. That’s what I am going to start to do us cash cuz you can not trust anyone these days anymore, this is pretty sad.

  2. MAJ says:

    Keep on top of this one. Was it local people from Monticello that did this? More info as you get it.

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m one of the victim of this. I can’t believe it actually made the news. I wonder how many people they got.

    I am very curious to hear more about this!!

  4. Maddog says:

    If you are stupid enough to eat at McDonalds you deserve what you get. That food is so bad it would gag a magot. Ish.

    1. Tiffany says:

      Wow, what a helpful comment. So, let me understand this correctly, if you’re stupid enough to eat at McDonald’s, then you deserve to have your credit card information ripped off. So insightful, the attempted logic in associating the consumption of perceived bad quality food with having your identity stolen as punishment. Thanks for the careful analysis and conclusion.

    2. Ellen says:

      I agree with Tiffany. And MAGGOT has 2 G’s not one.

    3. Guess what says:

      Listen to you bigshot. Drinking your ten dollar Starbucks coffee!

    4. Tubby Mac says:

      If you’re stupid enough to eat there,that’s one thing..But if you’re too fat & lazy to get outta your car, that’s pretty sad..All these “victims” are obese.

  5. Joey Olson says:

    Best way to prevent this is to not use the card on a mcdonalds purchase. Carry some cash people.

  6. Johnny Morris says:

    Since the perp targeted white females, can we assume this female perp was non-white? If so, then this could be a so-called ‘hate crime’.

    1. Jim says:

      How in the world would you make that assumption? That’s just dumb.

  7. Joseph E. Blow says:

    You could easily blame this on the banking industry. Remember the commercials that showed using cash slowed down a seemingly flawless flow of retail services? People steal credit card information because the victim allows them to do so. McDonalds….five bucks a meal, why would you use a credit or debit card to pay for it? Probably because the banks want you to.

    1. Michelle says:

      I am one of the victims of this scam and to say that I allowed them to do this is the most ignorantly stupid comment I’ve ever heard.

      1. Joseph E. Blow says:

        How much did you spend on that purchase, MIchellle? Was it enough money that you would fear to travel in public carrying that amount of cash? I have seen people whip out a card to pay for a cup of coffee and a pastry. Anyone who tosses their credit or debit card to pay for insignificant amounts is ignorantly stupid and invites thefts of these kinds. To be blind to the danger is to be accepting of the cost. Keep a nominal sum in your wallet to pay for minor purchases and you will hide your bank account from thieves. If someone steals that cash you will be much less harmed than the cost of the cell phone they would probably get at the same time. Ignorantly stupid is as ignorantly stupid does.

  8. something says:

    I get money back for using my card which is the only reason I do. Every couple of months Citi sends me a $50 check. Since I pay the card off every month they are giving me money to use my card.

    The only time I don’t use it is when I buy something from a local business and it is a small amount of money since I don’t like to hit my local business owners with the credit card fees on small purchases.

  9. Jean says:

    It was a female employee

  10. Jason says:

    I use cash for every purchase. Checks for everything else that comes in the mail. You should do the same.

  11. Ellen says:

    I have been using a mcdonalds “gift” card for a long time. I bought it myself
    of course and reload it when it gets low…but only $25 at a time. You scan
    it like a credit card, so it’s quick, easy, and no one can rip you off!

    It’s a simple solution to carrying cash or using a credit card for fast food.
    I never use a credit card for small purchases, because it makes for a
    lengthy monthly statement that is time-consuming to check out. When
    I re-load the gift card via credit card I still get my 1% back. And of course
    I pay the card in full each month.

    1. Joseph E. Blow says:

      I think you have a good plan, Ellen.

  12. mb says:

    While I was not a part of this particular scam, I have had someone use my debit card on the east and west coast. Twice in one year with DIFFERENT cards that were issued! Someone purchased a computer in CA and shipped it to the east coast. I obtained a NEW card and then it was used at home depot in Conneticut ($465.00) as well as Pep Boys ($365.00) in New Jersey. I live in MN and thankfully had made a purchase in town within 45 minutes that these purchases were happening out east, so thankfully I could substantiate that it was not me making those purchases! (I have never been on the east coast and 20+ years since I have been to CA.

    Needless to say, after consulting with Visa fraud (for the 2nd time) and having to cover the home depot purchase (which was later reimbursed by Visa after 10 days) and learning how many calls Visa fraud deals with each day, (1,000,000 I was told…yes 1 million!) I told them theycan keep my card!! I was never one to shop online or bank online…careful about where I would use it.

    I no longer carry a debit card…pay only with cash. Although it initially was inconvenient at first, after a year I am adjusted to it. t has also helped me to not spend as much money, which is a plus.

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