Debit Card Fraud Investigation Involving Michaels Craft Stores PIN Pads Spreads to 20 US States

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Type of Card: Michaels' PIN pads are used to swipe credit and debit cards, so it's possible that customers' credit card numbers were captured. However, law enforcement officials have not had any reports of credit card abuse related to the compromised PIN pads, to date. That is probably because crooks' preferred method of using the card information they glean is to hit ATM machines, which require a PIN, and customers do not enter a PIN at the store when they use a credit card.

However, it is possible that thieves could create cloned credit cards and use those cards to purchase merchandise, so credit card customers should monitor their accounts and report any suspicious activity to their credit card company immediately.

States: Michaels said it discovered compromised PIN pads in the following states:

Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia and Washington.

Stores: For a list of specific stores where the problem PIN pads were found, Click HERE.

To read more details about Michaels' continuing efforts to safeguard its customers, Click HERE.

Here's advice for keeping your bank account safe and secure: Consider using a credit card instead of a debit card. That way, you are risking the credit card company's money instead of your own. Laws and policies regarding credit cards offer stronger protection than those for debit cards. If you fail to report a debit card theft within 60 days, by law, you are liable and the bank can refuse to reimburse you. Many good banks will still help you, but they don't have to.

Re-PIN your debit card. Because crooks can swipe PIN numbers, it's a good idea to "re-pin" your debit card several times a year. It takes less than five minutes. Banks have small devices at their service counters where you can choose a new PIN for your card.

Be aware at ATMs, gas stations. Crooks also frequently install skimming devices on ATM machines and at the gas pump. So check out the slot when you insert your ATM card to make sure it looks right and is not a skimmer. It's also a good idea to type in your PIN number with one hand, while using the other to shield the number from view. More simplistic scammers install video cameras above ATM machines to record people's PINs.

Keep a watchful eye on your bank account. Because you can be held responsible for stolen funds if you don't report the theft within 60 days, it's important to monitor your accounts closely. If you suspect any sort of problem, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.

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