Giant Food alerted customers Tuesday that it found an illegal card-reading device at its Columbia Heights store, at 1345 Park Road, Northwest. The device was installed one one PIN pad at a self-checkout station and was designed to extract data from chips, not magnetic stripes. You’d have to have inserted your card in the device for your personal data to have been at risk, Giant says.
The grocery store says the device was at the self-checkout “during a limited period leading up to March 5, 2020” and that it alerted police and engaged privacy experts to analyze the device. It believes the incursion was limited to the one shop and urges customers to check their accounts. “Based on our investigation, at this time, we have no evidence that any of the information has been misused as a result of this issue,” Giant Food vice president of operations Bob Bennett writes in a letter to customers. The company says it’s alerting customers out of an abundance of caution.
In February, authorities in Minnesota alerted the public to incidents of credit-card skimming at some grocery self-checkouts. Thieves install skimmers, which read magnetic strips, or “shimmers,” which take information from chips and which have become more common as strips are on their way out.