Who is scamming and stealing from Lucky Supermarket debit-card users? Whoever he or she or they are, it's causing outrage, fear, and a shift in shopping habits from those who are losing money from their bank accounts.
The debit card "skimming" scam that's plagued multiple Bay Area Lucky Supermarkets is widening, as the amount of outraged customers who say their bank accounts were emptied after using debit cards at self-checkouts continues to grow.
More than 300 people have reported unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts following Lucky's first identifying the problem on Nov. 11. The supermarket chain went public with warnings to customers on Nov. 23.
Hackers installed "skimming" devices on selected self-checkout aisles, allowing them to collect personal data, like debit card numbers and PINs, remotely. This data is then transferred onto new cards remotely, and the thieves can then access bank accounts from any ATM in the world. The fradulent withdrawals are being made from ATMs in Southern California and the San Francisco Peninsula.
Unfortunately for Lucky's, the scam has affected folks like Burlingame public relations consultant Barry Shiller, who told the San Jose Mercury News that only lax security could have allowed the data thieves to install devices on so many checkout lanes successfully.
The crimes are being investigated by the US Secret Service.
In the meantime, Lucky's is asking anyone who used a self-checkout lane at an affected store to close out their accounts and change credit card numbers. Here's a partial list of affected stores, courtesy of the Contra Costa Times.
Fremont: 5000 Mowry Ave.; 35820 Fremont Blvd.
Hayward: 25151 Santa Clara St.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
1515 Sloat Blvd.
SAN MATEO COUNTY
SANTA CLARA COUNTY
San Jose: 5510 Monterey Highway; 200 El Paseo de Saratoga; 844 Blossom Hill Road; 3270 S. White Road.
Santa Clara: 234 Saratoga Ave.
Petaluma: 939 Lakeville Highway