One of the ways that thieves exploit the electronic economy is by using simple devices that look like ATM/Debit card readers at cash machines and retail checkout card readers to collect both account numbers and pin numbers. (This is one of the reasons why I never have more money in my debit card account than is protected by the company from fraud/theft.) As I noted yesterday, Walmart is the victim of crime, not the facilitator. Criminal activity gets noticed at Walmart because the Bentonvile Behemoth is the retail canary in the mine. Take the happenings in Fredericksburg, Md. for instance:
The Fredericksburg Police Department has issued a warning to Central Park shoppers after at least 37 people had their payment cards compromised, and bank accounts drained. In each reported case of theft, the victim had used their card at the local Walmart. According to a statement from the law enforcement agency, Walmart confirmed that cards used at the Central Park location were compromised. "Detectives believe the suspects are obtaining debit/credit card numbers by placing overlay devices on credit card readers at checkout counters. Today, Fredericksburg detectives received information from Walmart Global Investigations that debit/credit cards used at the Central Park Wal-Mart have been compromised," said the agency in a statement issued on Saturday. "A credit union in the Fredericksburg area has reported 37 of their members are victims where their debit cards were used at ATM’s to make large cash withdrawals. The Central Park Walmart has been identified as the place where their members’ debit card numbers/pins were obtained. Nearly all of the 'known' victims had large ATM withdrawals made using their debit card numbers." It's believed the cards were compromised earlier this year, in either March or April. Police are still investigating in order to determine what registers had skimmers installed. Customers who shopped at that location in either month are encouraged to contact their financial institution and request a new card.
Again, Walmart is the victim here; a lot. Chip technology, which eliminates the PIN, is intended to thwart the skimmers, but, well, the hack is coming in Five, Four, Three... Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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