Costco customers at four of the retailer’s Chicago department stores may have had their payment information compromised after employees discovered five card skimming units during routine stick block inspections in late August.
“We removed the skimmers immediately, alerted the police and engaged a forensic firm to analyze the devices,” a Costco spokesman told FOX Business in a statement. “It appears that these skimmers had the ability to capture information on the magnetic stripe of a payment card, including name, card number, expiration date and CVV.”[ads1];
ROBINHOOD REPORTS DATA BREAKS FOR 5M CUSTOMERS
Following the discovery, Costco identified customers who made payment card transactions on the affected devices during the relevant time period and notified them individually.
According to a warning letter on November 5, first reported by Bleeping Computer, Costco asked potentially affected customers to check their latest card printout for unauthorized charges and notify the bank of suspicious activity. The company also offered free credit monitoring and identity theft related services from IDX.
“Costco closely monitors members’ personal and financial information, and remains committed to protecting it from unauthorized disclosure,” the warning letter concludes. “We regret that we have been involved in this incident, and sincerely hope that it does not diminish your trust in us.”
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Although Costco did not disclose how many of the customers may have been affected, the spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business that no similar devices were found at other warehouse locations.
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The warning comes after Costco customers on Reddit and Twitter reported a number of unauthorized charges over the past month.
“Has anyone recently had fake charges on their card? I only use my card in a store, pick up petrol or at Costco.com, and I had fake charges yesterday,” a Reddit user wrote. “Hopefully there’s something like a shimmer at the gas pump instead of a data breach.”
“I noticed a fraudulent charge on my credit card, so I called to get it handled. The guy on the phone asked if I usually pay for gas at the pump, and I said yes,” said another Reddit user. “Apparently skimmers for information are common on payroll at pump systems and car washes. It was the only place he saw in my history that had probably stolen my information. He recommended paying inside, but Costco does not even have that option. Just a reminder to Always check your credit card statements and look for fraudulent charges! ”
“Immediately after finally renewing my Costco membership online this morning, I discovered $ 2,200 with fake credit card charges in the UK on August 31,” a Twitter user posted. “So now I have a Costco membership, but no credit card to use to shop there for the next seven to nine business days.”
Costco currently operates 820 department stores worldwide, including 568 locations in the United States.