SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) — After days of gathering information from multiple police departments, NewsChannel 9 found that a total of 15 Walmart stores were targeted as part of a four-day interstate skimming scheme.
The attempted fraud stretches across central New York, the Southern Tier, and across state lines into Maine, and involves three suspects who installed multiple skimmers on existing credit card scanners.
The following Walmart locations were subject to the skimming scheme:
- central field
- east of Syracuse
- Johnson City
- drawn job
- Sanford, Maine
- Windham, Maine
Each store handles its own police department investigation, but the officers who share information find surveillance footage to show that the perpetrators are the same in all cases.
Although some police agencies coordinate information sharing, individual investigations are not yet handled by the state police, the FBI, or the Secret Service.
Did you steal my information?
Police have not confirmed any casualties resulting from any cases at this time, but the process could take months.
Walmart customers, especially those who paid with credit cards at Target’s check-in lanes, should monitor their credit card statements and report unauthorized charges to their financial institution and local police.
Once people have taken the decisive steps to inform the bank and the police, they can email your stories to NewsChannel 9 ([email protected]).
Police provided the following log numbers that were affected by the device and the time period over which the information could have been collected.
|Auburn||#2||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|Camillus||#5||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|Canandaigua||#15||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|central field||#1||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|Cortlandville||#2||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|east of Syracuse||#6||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|Geneva||#13||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|Granby||#7||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|Ithaca||Not participating||Wed, July 5th||Not participating|
|Johnson City||No. 11||Wed, July 5th||Saturday 8th July|
|Oswego||#1||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|drawn job||#5||Monday 3 July||Not participating|
|Waterloo||#10||Sunday 2 July||Wed, July 5th|
|Sanford, Maine||Not participating||Tuesday, July 4th||Not participating|
|Windham, Maine||Not participating||Tuesday, July 4th||Not participating|
What is a credit card skim?
Credit card theft is the process of stealing people’s credit card information when they use their card at a trusted point of sale.
The devices vary in appearance and technology, but are usually a device that sits atop a credit card scanner, keyboard and similar tags, to steal account information from unsuspecting customers.
The old devices will keep the stolen information until the suspect returns to get it.
The new devices can transmit the stolen data via cell phone or Bluetooth.
The devices can steal a credit card number, a person’s name, a security code, and even keyboard entries.
What does this scraper look like?
It looks just like the credit card terminal most Walmart stores have on every register, which is why it’s such an easy scam to be fooled.
Oswego Police provided a photo of the exact device that officers seized.
What did the police find?
Regarding the device, the State Police Computer Crime Unit found that the device was battery powered and could capture keyboard input information.
Investigators aren’t sure if the most vulnerable debit cards were targeted or if the device was advanced enough to steal smart card information as well.
State police investigators discovered that the devices had bluetooth-capable antennas. This means that the stolen information could have been transmitted in real time, but investigators will not know this until the victim is confirmed.
Who are the suspects?
Each investigation agency pulled surveillance footage showing the suspects as the same two men and one woman.
The screenshots show the three in the checkout log together. One man gets the cashier’s attention when making a purchase, the person in the middle pulls the device out of a bag or pocket and easily fastens it. The woman’s back protects the attempted crime from other clients.
Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the two men and one woman.
How do I protect myself in the future?
Shoppers can change their payment method to increase shopping security. Mobile wallet services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay are the most secure because the device does not touch the device and each transaction is unique.
Tap-to-pay cards are also among the safest options out there.
Cards with chip technology are better than magnetic cards, and they are more vulnerable.
Debit card users should always use the credit option to protect their bank accounts.
In terms of finding a fraudulent device, the police suggest looking for cracks or missing pieces and are encouraged to lift the device to ensure it is genuine.
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