Card skimmers have been found at grocery stores across the Boston area in recent weeks, which may be giving shoppers more to worry about as they pick up food for the week.
Roche Bros. Supermarkets reported on Wednesday that they recently discovered credit card skimmers in five stores:
- Sudbury Farms in Sudbury, Mass.
- Sudbury Farms in Needham, Mass.
- Brothers Marketplace in, Weston, Mass.
- Roche Bros. Supermarket in Wellesley, Mass.
- Roche Bros. Supermarket in Natick, Mass.
Card skimmers are devices placed on ATMs or credit card readers that secretly scan cards, stealing the data contained on them, so the person who put it in place can use the information for fraudulent purchases. They’re often associated with gas stations, but at least seven of the devices have been discovered at stores in New England in the last two months.
Recent Mass., NH card skimmer reports
Concord, New Hampshire
In mid-November, Concord police warned that two men, wanted for trying to scam shoppers out of their credit card information across New England, were seen on surveillance video installing skimmers at a local Walmart and Market Basket.
On Oct. 19, the Walmart on Loudon Road alerted police that a loss prevention associate at the store had located a credit card skimmer affixed to one of the registers in the self-checkout lane. On Oct. 27, police received a call from the Market Basket on Storrs Street saying a similar device had been found attached to one of the registers in their express lane checkout, officials said.
Devices used steal credit card data were installed at multiple Market Basket and Walmart stores in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Concord police said their investigation determined that both devices they observed had been installed by the same two people on Oct. 17. And they said similar incidents are being investigated by law enforcement agencies across New England.
Reading police said they received a call on Oct. 30 from a security and loss prevention worker at Market Basket saying that a skimming device had been found on a credit card machine at a register at the store on Oct. 26.
The device was located by Market Basket employees on the same day it was placed, and a review of data by the store’s IT department indicates that it was removed before any customer data could be stolen. A review of surveillance video shows that one person distracted a clerk while another placed the skimming device on the credit card machine.
One of the suspects was described as a male wearing a black hat, face mask, black jacket, white shirt, black jeans and white shoes. The other was described as a male wearing a black hat, face mask, black jacket, black shirt, blue jeans and white and black sneakers.
Reading police said they are investigating the incident with the assistance of law enforcement partners in other communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
On Dec. 5, Chelsea police warned the public about a skimming device found at a register at the local Market Basket.
“We have the device and are working with the Market Basket as well as our regional partners to see if the devices are related to other recent incidents,” they said in the post.
Police told NBC10 Boston at the time that the skimmer device was only up for six minutes. A group of people was involved — one distracted an employee while another placed the device on the register.
A credit card skimmer was found at a Market Basket in Chelsea, Massachusetts, police said.
Roche Bros. Supermarkets announced on Christmas Eve that two credit card skimmers were found on self-checkout pin pads at their Sudbury Farms grocery store off Route 20.
The company’s CEO said in a statement they “immediately took steps to secure all registers at all locations and launched an investigation.”
Roche Bros. Supermarkets announced that the skimmers were discovered at the Sudbury Farms store.
The investigation remained ongoing as of Christmas Day. Roche Bros. said it determined the Sudbury Farms store in Sudbury was the only location impacted.
“Roche Bros. has strong policies in place to protect against these types of incidents, including conducting multiple security checks daily on our registers,” CEO Kevin Barner said. “Roche Bros. is committed to protecting the confidentiality and security of our customers’ information and are issuing a press release to try and reach affected and potentially affected customers who we are not able to specifically identify.”
How to protect yourself against card skimmers
One telltale sign that a skimmer is attached is that the card chip reader slot is inoperable and appears to be jammed, causing the customer to swipe the card so the magnetic reader can steal the card’s information.
Market Basket has told NBC10 Boston that routine security audits take place daily, which is how they found suspicious devices at stores in Concord and Nashua, New Hampshire, and Haverhill, Reading and Somerville, Massachusetts.
The FBI has shared this infographic depicting where criminals can place devices to steal information from card users:
If you did shop with a card at a store where a skimmer was found, you’re advised to check your account and report anything suspicious to the credit card company or your bank.
If your information has been compromised, you may also want to consider closing accounts or placing a freeze on your credit.
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