Scammers Place Card Skimmers at 3 Knoxville-Area Food City Cash Registers, Company Says

(Courtesy: WVLT/City of Huntsville)

Scammers Place Card Skimmers at 3 Knoxville-Area Food City Cash Registers, Company Says

Knoxville, TN (WOKI / WVLT) Three Food City cash registers in the Knoxville-area were recently the targets of scammers using card skimmers.

Representatives of K-VA-T Food Stores, the grocery store’s parent company, announcing the breach Friday afternoon say the locations in Kodak, Gatlinburg, and the Mechanicsville area of Knoxville were targeted. Security found the devices and called the police, prompting an investigation.

According to K-VA-T Food Stores, only customers who swiped their cards using the magnetic strip had any data taken, and that data was limited to card numbers and pins rather than any identifying information.

Security also reportedly used surveillance cameras to identify the scammers, and they were detained when they returned to the stores to collect the data. The company provided the following statement to our news partner, WVLT:

At K-VA-T Food Stores, the privacy and security of our customers is our top priority. We have security protocols in place at each location to help us identify fraudulent activity. We recently experienced an incident that may have impacted some customer information. The incident only involved the following store locations in Tennessee: Kodak, Gatlinburg, and Mechanicsville/Knoxville.

Recently we discovered one unauthorized device on a single card reader at each of the three store locations above. We immediately removed the skimming device, contacted law enforcement, and launched an investigation. We completed a thorough examination of the 2,500+ remaining card readers throughout the company and no other fraudulent activity was found. We also increased the number of times we inspect our card readers each day.

Thanks to the great work of our Security Department which utilized our highly sophisticated video surveillance system, we identified the suspects who installed the devices. When they returned to the store to attempt to retrieve data from the device (which had already been removed), the suspects were intercepted and detained by our Security Department personnel before entering the store. The suspects were taken into custody by local law enforcement and as of the date of this notice are being held on multiple charges. Information gained in the apprehension of these suspects indicated they targeted several other retail companies in the greater Knoxville area.

Our investigation indicates the skimmers were in place for a short period of time and potentially affected 146 transactions. It appears that the devices were only capable of collecting card number and pin number (if used) from magnetic swiped card transactions. No names appear to have been collected. Card transactions involving tap or chip reader technology (inserting your card) were not impacted, nor were any of our self-checkout areas or transactions. None of our other systems were impacted as a result of this incident.

We have notified individuals who may have been affected and for which we had contact information. However, customers who shopped the Food City location in Gatlinburg, TN or the Mechanicsville store on Western Avenue in Knoxville, TN between April 9th and April 14th; or who shopped the Food City in Kodak, TN between April 9th and April 17th and swiped a magnetic striped card through the card reader are encouraged to remain vigilant by reviewing bank and credit card account statements and monitoring credit reports. Card transactions utilizing the tap or chip reader technology (inserting your card) were not impacted, nor were any self-checkout transactions. – K-VA-T Food Stores

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