Thousands of Walmart customers have had their identities and credit card information stolen as criminals and thieves rigged Walmart checkout lines with credit card skimmers. While we’ve heard and seen how thieves can use any smartphone to steal your debit card pin number, these credit card skimmers are a whole other level of fraudulent activity. Credit card skimmers are small, almost imperceptible electronic devices that get placed on top of a credit card reader.
When a customer swipes their credit card, the skimmer steals the information off of the credit card’s magnetic strip.
These fraudulent devices were recently found at two Walmart locations. And there may be more, so beware!
The first credit card skimmer was found on May 11 at a Fort Wright, Kentucky Walmart location. Thieves, who have not yet been identified and may work at the store themselves, loaded the device onto the self-checkout machine to scam customers struggling to get out of the store quickly.
One week later, on May 18, Walmart asset protection associates finally got around to finding the device. In that time thousands of people’s credit card information was stolen.
“To go inside a store like Walmart that has a lot of surveillance equipment and install a skimmer is pretty bold,” Fort Wright police chief Dan Kreinest said.
After backtracking and viewing hours of security video, police think they’ve found the two suspects who installed the credit card skimmer. They’ve released their images as seen on the grainy surveillance camera footage to the public. They’re asking locals to help identify the crooks.
“These folks did not park at the Walmart,” Kreinest said. “They actually parked off-site, so we’re pretty certain that’s who we’re looking for.”
Kentucky is not the only state to face this scare. A Fredericksburg, Virginia Central Park Walmart store also had a similar device installed on their checkout machines.
After the string of thefts, at least 37 local credit union members, who had shopped at the megastore, had their debit and credit card information compromised. That means they had their money stolen.
These dozens of credit union customers had large sums of money ILLEGALLY withdrawn from their accounts at local ATM machines across the state of Virginia.
The Virginia credit card skimmers were placed in March and April, Walmart’s Global Investigations unit reports.
The problem is so severe and dangerous to your finances, that police asked everyone who shopped at the Central Park Walmart location to ask their bank to reissue the card.
After all of the fraudulent activity going on in Walmart, the company’s senior manager of Communications Erica Jones was forced to release a statement about the recent slew of credit card skimmer incidents. She wanted to assure everyone that Walmart employees were not responsible for the criminal activity and encourage you to still shop at Walmart. But can we trust them anymore?
“First and foremost, we have zero tolerance for any crime against our customers, our associates or our company. As soon as we heard about the possible fraudulent activity in these stores, we took action to protect our customers. We are working with law enforcement authorities to investigate this activity and are taking additional steps to help ensure that our customers’ transactions are safe, including increasing store inspections.”
Should Walmart pay the price for all of this credit card fraud going on in their store?