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Michaels Reveals Debit Card Data Breach

As of last week, authorities said it was too early to tell whether "skimming" caused the breach at Chicago-area stores.
May 9, 2011

CHICAGO - Arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc. announced last week that some customer debit and credit card information had been compromised by PIN pad tampering at Chicago-area stores.

The Chicago Tribune reported that authorities confirmed that thieves plundered some victims bank accounts, often for hundreds of dollars each. Michaels, a Texas-based company, operates 1,049 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

"It appears Michaels stores in the Chicagoland area have been targeted," said Bloomingdale Police Chief Frank Giammarese. "I can confidently say all 16 of our victims have visited a Michaels store."

The U.S. Secret Service began an investigation last Wednesday. "At this point right now, it's a brand new case for us," said Derrick Golden, spokesman for the Chicago field office.

One of the most common methods for thieves to steal PIN pad information is by using a "skimmer," which captures a customer€™s card and personal ID information. Golden told the newspaper that it€™s "too early to say" as to whether a skimmer was used in Michaels€™ data breach.

NACS Anti-Skimming Solution۬
The WeCare decal۬is a tamper-evident label that can help retailers identify potential security breaches if skimming devices are inserted at fuel dispensers or other unattended PIN-entry devices. The labels can also help retailers address some of the PCI compliance mandates that are now required.

The security labels are to be used on fuel dispensers near the credit/debit card transaction area. If the label is lifted to insert a skimming device, a "void" message appears on the label, providing a visual alert to store employees so that additional action can be taken. Because the labels clearly indicate that they are to prevent tampering, the labels help assure customers that their data is secure, and discourage criminals targeting the store.

Protect your business and your customers €" order the WeCare decals for your stores today.

NACS also has a fact sheet that examines retailer concerns about card skimming.