Knoxville waiter convicted of stealing credit card numbers

Financial experts explain how to protect your credit card information at restaurants

(Photo: Knox County District Attorney)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man was convicted after credit card numbers were stolen from customers at several West Knoxville restaurants.

The Knox County District Attorney Office says David Carroll Masoner, 46, worked at many restaurants as a waiter from 2010 to 2012.

(Photo: Knox County District Attorney)

According to the report, Masoner wrote the card holder’s name, the credit card number, expiration date and security code when the customer paid for a meal.

Some of the restaurants Masoner worked at include Bearden Fieldhouse, Pero’s on the Hill, Honey Baked Ham and Silver Spoon.

Investigators say Masoner charged fraudulent meals and tips to the cards, and bought gift cards from other restaurants and retail stores.

Twenty-six stolen credit card numbers were found on Masoner at the time of his arrest.

“Consumers should be aware that while credit cards can be convenient, they can also come with some risk,” said District Attorney Charme Allen. “Check your statements regularly for unauthorized purchases and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

Masoner was sentenced to serve 12 years in prison.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol Identity Crimes Unit, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Secret Service helped with the investigation.

Financial experts on how to protect yourself

Financial experts want people to take a moment to think before handing over your credit card at a restaurant or a store.

“Honestly it’s something that’s just in the back of my mind,” said Seth Thacker.

Identity fraud is top priority at Sword & Shield Enterprise Security. There, they work with businesses on protecting their client’s credit card information as well as cyber security.

Director of Managed Security Services Jason Graf says people need to be cautious when handing cards over to anyone because it’s a risk.

“I think the main thing is use a credit card versus a debit card. If you’re not comfortable with credit cards and you’re going to be put in a situation, like in a restaurant and you’re going to be handing your card over to a server, use cash,” said Graf.

At the Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee, President Tony Binkley says protecting your money comes down to keeping track of bank statements, receipts and monitoring your account every day. Binkley has advice on what to do if your credit card information is ever stolen.

“I would definitely let the business know because it could alert them that something could be going on internally or it could just be a coincidence,” he said.

Besides the chip and pen technology, things like Apple Pay or Google Pay are giving people more control. Graf says many restaurants are creating apps where people can order their food and pay securely.

“Some companies will have, like menu systems and payment systems at the table,” he added.

Financial experts add it’s a good idea to sign up for notifications and fraud alerts from your bank or credit card company.

“Makes me think that I should probably use a little more caution,” said Thacker.

Some other safeguards to tank when it comes to using your card at the gas pump:

  • Be on the lookout for skimming devices. Before swiping, give the card reader a shake.
  • If you’re buying gas, take a look at other readers near the pump, seeing if they look different.

For extra precaution, use two hands when paying for gas. Use one for the transaction, and place the other above the credit card screen shielding the keypad from view of lurking cameras above.

WATE 6 On Your Side Reporter Laura Halm contributed to this story.

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