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Friday
May132011

Michaels Shoppers in Jeopardy After Debit Card PINs Reported Stolen

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(IRVING, Texas) -- If you shop at the popular Michaels craft store chain, your bank account may be in jeopardy.

The Secret Service is investigating a debit card fraud case that started in Illinois and has now spread to 20 states.  Investigators say crooks tampered with PIN pads in the Michaels checkout lanes, allowing them to capture customers' debit card and PIN numbers.

Michaels now confirms that it found 90 compromised PIN pads in 80 of its stores.  The chain quarantined an additional 7,000 PIN pads just to be safe.

Michaels' PIN pads are used to swipe credit and debit cards, so it's possible that customers' credit card numbers were captured.  However, law enforcement officials have not had any reports of credit card abuse related to the compromised PIN pads, to date.  That is probably because crooks' preferred method of using the card information they glean is to hit ATM machines, which require a PIN, and customers do not enter a PIN at the store when they use a credit card.

However, it is possible that thieves could create cloned credit cards and use those cards to purchase merchandise, so credit card customers should monitor their accounts and report any suspicious activity to their credit card company immediately.

As best the store can tell at this time, the customers who experienced problems shopped between Feb. 8 and May 6, 2011.

Michaels said it discovered compromised PIN pads in the following states: Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia and Washington. 

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