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Credit and Debit Card PINs Stolen From Santee Barnes & Noble

Thieves struck in September, customers should consider changing their PIN numbers and review their bank and credit card statements.

Credit and debit card information was stolen from PIN pads at five Barnes & Noble outlets in San Diego County, including Santee's Trolley Square, the bookseller announced Wednesday.

The thieves struck 63 of the chain's 700 stores nationwide in early September. The thefts did not affect transactions made via the company's website or by the Nook portable reading device, according to the company.

The affected stores in San Diego County are:

-- Chula Vista, at the Otay Ranch Town Center;

-- Escondido, on W. Valley Parkway;

-- Oceanside, on Vista Way;

-- San Diego, on Westview Parkway; and

-- Santee, at the Santee Town Center.

The thieves attached a "bug" to one customer PIN pad at each store to collect identifying information, according to a company statement. Barnes & Noble has discontinued the use of PIN pads.

The company called the thefts a "sophisticated criminal effort to steal credit card information, debit card information, and debit card PIN numbers from customers who swiped their cards through PIN pads when they made purchases."

Customers who made purchases at the listed stores should consider changing their PIN numbers and review their bank and credit card statements for unauthorized purchases.

The New York Times quoted an unnamed company official who said the thieves did use stolen information to make purchases, but such activity has declined recently.

The company said in its statement that it is assisting federal law enforcement and working with financial institutions to identify accounts that have been compromised.

-City News Service

Melonie October 26, 2012 at 10:25 AM
If you used a bugged card swiper your bank will freeze your card with a fraud alert and notify you. I was contacted by my bank and I was told the authorities are investigating the USA Gas on Cuyamacca and Mission Gorge as well as B&N. I actually made purchases at both in the time frame in question. Luckily no damage done sans the inconvenience of ordering a new card. Apparently the thieves attach a thin strip alongside the magnetic one where you swipe your card. You'll have to swipe your card twice thinking the first time it didn't go through. That's when your info is stolen and where the act gets it's name as The Double Swipe Scam. A lot of the time the employees you're dealing with are oblivious as the bad guy who stuck it there is most likely not working at the time of your transaction. I know the employee who rang me up at Barnes. His mom works there too. Good guy who had nothing to do with the crime. Now the gas station though, that was fishy and sure enough I was told "Go ahead and swipe your card again ma'am, first time didn't go through" Those stations were put together super fast and a lot of people were hired in a short period of time that some shady characters had to have slipped through the cracks. Ah well, at least no damage was done. I hope others were as lucky.

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