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Michaels Customers Victims of Debit Card Fraud

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a rash of debit card fraud cases that appear to be linked to Chicago-area Michaels store transactions.

Chicago media are reporting that Bloomingdale (IL) police have received 16 reports of fraudulent ATM withdrawals made from consumers’ debit card accounts, and scores of other fraud reports have been made to authorities across the Chicago area by shoppers at the company’s 35 area stores. All of the fraudulent transactions apparently involve $500 withdrawals made at out-of-state ATM’s. All of the victims had previously made transactions at one of Michaels Chicago-area stores.

Compromised PIN pads, a common way of stealing debit card identities, in Michaels stores are speculated to be to blame for the string of frauds, but the investigation is still ongoing. Customers who have made purchases at Michaels stores should monitor their card statements for fraudulent activity and report any unauthorized activity to the card issuer. Consumers may also want to consider changing PIN numbers and other security settings on cards used in Michaels stores.

Michaels says it was contacted about the fraud this week by banking and law enforcement officials, and is working to assist authorities in the investigation.


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11 Responses to Michaels Customers Victims of Debit Card Fraud

  1. Allison LP May 7, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    scary!

    • Nancy Nally May 7, 2011 at 9:22 am #

      We had a string of similar frauds in our town that was linked to tampering with gas pump PIN pads. It’s all over the place!

    • Sue May 9, 2011 at 1:06 am #

      It happened to me on Tuesday :( – I am so not happy. One of the grandmothers in my daughter’s class had $1,000 taken out.

  2. Traci Brennan May 7, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Thanks for the heads up! I am sharing this link….

  3. Pamela McGillin May 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    On the radio yesterday, they were saying it’s better to use your credit card because as soon as the card is compromised, you’re not responsible for the charges that follow, whereas with your debit card, the account can be completely emptied and you will never see that money again!

  4. txscrapaddict May 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    For those on Michael’s email list, the company sent out a warning last week.

    • Nancy Nally May 8, 2011 at 9:02 am #

      That’s weird…I never got that email and I am definitely on their email list. I always get their sale ads.

    • Betsy Burnett May 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      I never got the “warning” email either and I live in the area effected!

  5. Gab May 8, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Wow, very scary

  6. Sue May 9, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    Pamela, the bank told me if I fill out a Regulation E form and it can be proved it wasn’t me, I will get the money back. However, they did say it would take longer because it was an ATM withdrawl.

  7. Shannon May 23, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    I saw this report a couple weeks ago and didn’t think about it. Within 2 hours after leaving a Michael’s store in Arlington, Texas on May 21, my debit account was compromised. Someone in Sun Valley, Ca debited my account for $400, then tried to take another $900 in separate transactions ranging from $100 to $400 each. Chase Bank immediately caught the first one, which did go through and they immediately notified me via email. I thought the email could have been a spoof, so I called the number on the back of my card. They verified the fraud alert and guaranteed I’d receive the $400 back since it was a legitimate fraudulent transaction. The POS debit card machine looked normal and no signs it was tampered with. I cannot say it was Michael’s where my card information was stolen, but the case sounds very similar. I mentioned this article to the Chase agent, but they also cannot say it was Michael’s machine as the suspect until further investigation. Be VERY careful! For now, pay with cash.

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