CONCORD, N.H. — Police are urging grocery shoppers to keep an eye on their bank accounts and report any suspicious activity after credit card skimmers were recently found at Market Basket stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
A credit card skimmer was discovered at the checkout at the Market Basket and Walmart on Storrs Street in Concord, New Hampshire, in October, according to the Concord Police Department.
Earlier this week, Concord police shared surveillance images of suspects who allegedly installed skimming devices on point-of-sale card readers at the stores.
The skimming device ring has since expanded to at least four additional stores across the region.
Concord police confirmed to Boston 25 News on Wednesday that credit card skimmers were also found at the following Market Basket stores:
- Nashua, New Hampshire (10/27/2023)
- Somerville, Massachusetts (10/27/2023)
- Reading, Massachusetts (10/26/23)
- Haverhill, Massachusetts (10/26/2023)
“Similar incidents are being investigated by law enforcement agencies throughout New England,” the department said in a statement. “Based on the functionality of the devices, sensitive information from credit and debit cards is obtained by the device and relayed to a third.”
A “telltale sign” with the skimmers in question is that the chip reader slot is “inoperable and appears “jammed,” causing the customer to swipe the card so that the magnetic reader can steal the card information, police warned shoppers.
Reading police later a surveillance image showing two suspects who they say placed a skimming device on a credit card machine at Market Basket in town on Oct. 26.
“The device was located by Market Basket employees on the same day it was placed, and a review of data by the store’s IT department indicates that the device was located and removed before any sensitive data could be stolen,” Reading Police Chief David Clark said in a statement.
Clark said that a review of surveillance video showed that one suspect distracted a clerk while the other suspect placed the skimming device on the credit card machine.
One of the suspects is described as a white or Hispanic male, wearing a black hat, face mask, black jacket, white shirt, black jeans, and white shoes. The second suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male wearing a black hat, face mask, black jacket, black shirt, blue jeans, and white and black sneakers.
Police in Haverhill also announced Wednesday that two unknown white males entered the store in the city on Oct. 26 and were seen on security cameras tampering with a card reader at a register. It was later discovered that they had installed a card skimming device at the register card reader.
In this case, Haverhill police said both suspects wore masks and hats.
In a statement in response to the investigation, Market Basket told Boston 25 News that it’s “not aware of any customer information being compromised” at this time.
“During a routine security audit that takes place daily, members of our team in the Haverhill store located at 400 Lowell Avenue identified a suspicious device attached to a single payment terminal. We subsequently reviewed each of our locations and found that a similar device had been placed at one terminal at our Reading, Somerville, Concord, and Nashua locations within a short timeframe,” a spokesperson for the Tewksbury-based grocery chain said. “We immediately contacted the local authorities, where we learned that a number of these skimming devices have been discovered in other retail stores throughout our region. At this time, we are not aware of any customer information being compromised and we will continue to monitor this situation closely. We are also working with both state and local authorities to help identify the responsible individuals.”
Security expert Mike Driscoll tells me, the holidays are a busy time for scammers, who often work in teams.
“We very frequently see organized crime groups going out en masse placing these skimmers,” Driscoll said. “They’ll put out 15, 20 of these in a region at once, leave them out in place for 24-48 hours, and then collect them back.”
Driscoll says there are four ways to protect yourself.
Anyone who thinks they’ve been impacted or has information on possible suspects is urged to contact their local law enforcement agency.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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