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Hundreds Victimized, At-Risk in Lucky Store Card-Skimming Scheme

The Union Landing location is among 24 Lucky stores in Northern California whose customers have reported fraudulent credit card activity

By Zoneil Maharaj , Patch Staff
Dec 8, 2011 8:07 p m PT | Updated Dec 8, 2011 8:13 p m PT

More than 500 Lucky store customers have been victimized in a recent credit and debit card-skimming operation, announced Save Mart Supermarkets, who operates the Lucky chain.

According to a customer alert on the chain’s website, the , the 5000 Mowry Ave. and 35820 Fremont Blvd. locations in Fremont and the 25151 Santa Clara St. store in Hayward are among the 24 Bay Area stores whose customers have reported fraudulent or attempted fraudulent activities after using card-reading machines in the self-checkout lanes.

Customers who used a credit or debit card in a self-checkout lane at the identified locations during the months of October and November may be compromised.

One Union City Patch reader, who wished to remain anonymous, reported having $2,518 stolen from his account last weekend as a result of shopping at the Union Landing store. Another Patch reader said she had $500 taken from her bank account after shopping at the Lucky on Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

In a consumer advisory issued on Nov. 23, the company said it had learned that card-reading machines in the self-checkout lanes at 20 stores contained data skimming devices. The first tampered card reader was discovered during a regular inspection, the company said. Three more stores were added to the list Monday, with the San Leandro store at 1300 Fairmont Drive added Wednesday.

“Every customer should continue checking their accounts regularly as a precaution if they used a checkout terminal in October or November,” the customer advisory stated.

Local, state and federal agencies are involved in the investigation, and the U.S. Secret Service is examining the tampered card readers, company officials said.

Save Mart spokeswoman Alicia Rockwell said the Secret Service called the skimming devices “extremely sophisticated.”

Only one self-checkout card reader in each of the 24 stores was compromised, and all the affected card readers were replaced as of Nov. 23, according to the company.

“At this point, we have no reason to believe our employees were involved,” the company said in a statement, noting that Lucky workers were also victimized.

To report fraudulent activity, customers can contact Lucky’s Customer Support Center at 800-692-5710 or e-mail the company through their website. However, the company urges customers contact their financial institutions first.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Have any of you been impacted by the Lucky’s card skimming scheme? Tell us in the comments.

Hundreds Victimized, At-Risk in Lucky Store Card-Skimming Scheme – Union City, CA – The Union Landing location is among 24 Lucky stores in Northern California whose customers have reported fraudulent credit card activity