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Four secret credit card skimmers found at 4 different Central NY Walmart stores




Syracuse, NY – Four credit card skimmers, designed to steal customers’ information, have been found at four different Walmart stores in Central New York, according to local police.

The devices were secretly placed in the boxes and not found for four days over the July 4 holiday weekend, police said.

The card skimming devices were found at the following stores: Camillus, East Syracuse, Auburn and Fulton.

Related article: How to avoid falling victim to credit card skimmers like those found at CNY Walmarts

Walmart has declined to answer questions about the skimmers or provide information on how many customers passed through those checkout lanes. The spokesperson instead referred questions to local police.

The devices were installed on July 2 and discovered on July 5, police said.

Police agencies working on the case include New York State Police, Camillus Police, DeWitt Police and Auburn Police.

DeWitt Police, Camillus Police and Auburn Police spokespeople said they are looking for three people — two men and a woman — suspected of installing the devices at various Walmart locations on July 2.

The suspects are believed to have a gray or light blue minivan, police said.

Auburn police are seeking the public’s help in identifying three people suspected of installing credit card skimming devices at Walmart locations in the region. This photo shows the suspects installing the device. (Provided by Auburn Police)

Lt. Jerry Pace, a DeWitt police spokesman, said the device found in East Syracuse was placed over the card reader at checkout lane 6 when the cashier was distracted. A store manager was notified of the reader found in Fulton and found it in his store.

The devices are designed to look identical to the front of a card reader, said Capt. James Nightingale, a Camillus Police spokesman. He said the devices can easily be lifted off the top of the card reader.

Camillus police were alerted to the device found in Camillus by Walmart employees, Nightingale said. He said the employees told police they were asked to check all their card readers by Walmart corporate office representatives. The device was found in checkout field 5.

Customers who shopped at any of the four locations between July 2 and July 5 are urged by police to check their credit card and bank statements for fraudulent charges.

State police do not know if any customers had their information compromised at the Granby/Fulton Walmart, said Trooper Jack Keller, a state police spokesman. The skimmer was on checkout lane 7 at the Granby/Fulton Walmart.

Auburn, Camillus, Dewitt and state police have not heard from anyone who has had a fraudulent charge as of Friday.

Some skimming devices have Bluetooth capabilities that allow criminals to steal information remotely, while others must be fetched to collect the data.

Keller said troopers aren’t sure if the device they found at the Fulton store is Bluetooth-compatible.

Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, POS terminals or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders’ PINs, Keller said.

Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and steal from victims’ accounts. It is estimated that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year.

It is unusual for a skimming device to be installed in such a public place. Typically, criminals target ATMs or registers in areas with less light or fewer people around, Keller said.

“That’s pretty brave,” he said.

If you have information about the suspects or suspect you are a victim of fraudulent allegations, police provided these contact numbers:

  • State Police: (315) 598-2112
  • Auburn Police: (315)255-4703 or (315)253-3231
  • DeWitt Police: (315) 449-3640

Walmart said Friday that customers who believe they may have been affected should contact the Walmart Customer Care Team at 800-925-6278, in addition to contacting their bank.

Walmart also released a statement Thursday evening in reference to the device found at the store outside of Fulton:

“We have controls in place to give customers a safe experience and have measures designed to protect against this type of crime. We are continually improving and reviewing our protocol to better serve and protect customers and will continue to work with the police and refer any further questions to them.”

Auburn police are seeking the public’s help in identifying three people suspected of installing credit card skimming devices at Walmart locations in the region. (Provided by Auburn Police)

Staff writer Anne Hayes covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Do you have a tip, story idea, question or comment? You can reach her at ahayes@syracuse.com.



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