There have been numerous reports and alerts in the media recently about the rise in credit card theft and the use of stolen credit cards. This week Aldi has become the most recent retailer to warn its customers of credit card details being potentially breached at its stores.
Aldi’s management personnel have shown some concerns that the company, and its customers, may have become a victim of a scheme known as credit card skimming*, that is more widely known for being used on ATM machines and certain automated gas pumps.
Officials have stated that the same kind of credit card skimming devices have been found on registers and point-of-sale terminals in Aldi stores spanning at least 11 states. Terry Pfortmiller, a spokesperson for Aldi, went on to say that Aldi has worked alongside federal and state law enforcement agencies in order to conduct a seriously thorough investigation. Company employees have been ruled out and cleared of any suspicion, and are in no way at fault or responsible for any account information that has potentially been stolen.
The devices that were found attached to the point of sale terminals were found to be capable of transmitting information about customer accounts onto an as yet unknown third party or parties, although investigations have not yet been able to determine if any of the customer’s credit cards have been affected. Customers have been strongly advised by company officials to carefully monitor credit and debit card statements for any suspicious or fraudulent charges that may have been made. They have also been advised to request replacement credit and debit cards from their issuing bank of financial institution.
There is also a hand held skimmer which is usually used in restaurants and hotels, or anywhere that you might have to part with your credit or debit card for a short time. Your card will be run through a hand held skimmer for the few brief minutes it is out of your sight, and the contents or information held on the magnetic stripe on your card will get transmitted to a third party who will then clone your card and use it for large purchases.
* Skimmers are electronic chunks of technology that can fit over an ATM’s card reader. There will usually be a pinhole camera in situ over the keypad that will capture the unwitting machine user’s security code or pin number.
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