Costco Discloses Data Breach After Finding Card Skimmer At One Of Its Stores – Forbes

costco-discloses-data-breach-after-finding-card-skimmer-at-one-of-its-stores-–-forbes

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No cardholder ever wants to receive a data breach notification, but the run-up to Black Friday is just about the least convenient time to receive one. Unfortunately for some Costco Wholesale members, that’s exactly what has happened. Instead of hunting for deals they’ll now be going through payment card records and looking for purchases they didn’t authorize.

Woman pay by credit card in store


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As reported by Bleeping Computer, Costco recently reported the discovery of a card skimmer at one of its Canadian warehouses. Shoppers who swiped their cards on the compromised terminal were notified, though the company could not say with certainty whether or not the criminal who installed the device was able to retrieve any customer data.

That could be good news, though a handful of complaints from Costco members have surfaced on Reddit and Twitter. Some have reported thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges shortly after having visited the affected location.

Costco is advising members who received the notification to verify purchases on their statements and to report any suspicious charges immediately. The company is also offering a year of no-charge identity recovery services, monitoring and identity theft insurance.

A Costco warehouse doesn’t necessarily seem like the sort of place a criminal would install a physical card skimmer. They’re generally always very busy and well-monitored by surveillance cameras.

The reality, though, is that many card skimmers can be installed in a couple of seconds by a skilled individual. Often it’s done surreptitiously following a legitimate purchase like a shady sleight-of-hand trick.

Other times the criminal installing the skimmer may go to greater lengths, appearing in person as a technician who was dispatched to replace or repair faulty equipment.

Costco’s notification also doesn’t specify whether the skimmer was installed in the warehouse or on a pump at the gas bar. Pumps are often an easier target and are frequently

How To Protect Yourself From Card Skimming

The FBI has put together a page on its website that explains what card skimmers are, how they work and how you can avoid falling victim to one.

One of the easiest ways to avoid a skimmer at a gas bar is to always use a pump that’s closest to or directly in the line of sight of the attendant. A criminal wants to stay out of view while planting a skimmer, so more remote, less-visible pumps are more likely to be targeted.

The same holds true for banking machines. The Bureau’s post advises sticking to ABMs in well-lit indoor areas whenever possible.

A quick physical inspection is also a good idea before you insert your card, regardless of where you’re using it.

Giving a good tug on the stripe reader or card slot is often enough to dislodge a skimmer and it will do nothing to a terminal that has not been compromised. You can also pull around the edges of the PIN pad to make sure that a fraudster hasn’t hastily slapped a bogus one on top.

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