If you’re a Nordstrom shopper from Aventura, Florida, you might want to check your credit card statements for unauthorized charges or other signs of identity theft.
Six men allegedly collaborated on a scheme to plant credit card data-stealing devices (also known as skimmers) on registers at a Nordstrom store in Florida. While the Aventura store discovered and removed the skimmers quickly and it’s unclear whether the scammers successfully made off with anyone’s credit card numbers, the tale is a chilling reminder of just how easy it is for thieves to steal your private information.
While this specific incident occurred at the Aventura location, credit card skimming is one of the fast-growing threats to consumers. If it can happen at a Florida Nordstrom, it can happen anywhere.
6 Men Install Credit Card Skimmers at Florida Nordstrom
The details of the case are preliminary – neither Nordstrom nor the Aventura police department are certain if the six men managed to successfully steal any customer credit card information. But here’s what we do know, courtesy of Naked Security:
According to a police alert on October 5, the store was first visited by three men whose actions were captured by CCTV cameras. Two of the men, it is said, distracted sales staff whilst the third took photos of the outside of a register before removing the back panel whereupon he took more pictures.
Once the first three men finished their recon, they left the store. Later, three different men came into the store. This time, with the sales staff distracted once more, the third member of the team again opened up the back of the register — only this time, he installed the keylogging device.
Upon investigation, Nordstroms found keylogging devices attached to six of their registers. The devices would have been easy to miss had the video surveillance not caught the suspects in action. They’re designed to look like the standard PS/2 keyboard connectors that are commonly used on Point-of-Sale retail computers.
Credit Card Fraud Technology is Cheap and Easy
If the devices hadn’t been discovered thanks to the Nordstrom surveillance footage, police believe that the next step in the plan would be for the suspects to return to the store, recover the devices, and then use the data on them to clone credit cards and commit fraud.
Experts at Naked Security point out how the technical aspects of these schemes are alarmingly simple. The PS/2 keylogger devices used by the suspects can be purchased online for about $40 and installed within seconds. They carry about 4MB of onboard storage — plenty of space to collect private customer data like credit card numbers.
Police think the devices were designed to log data from the register’s credit card readers which are often connected to or mounted to the register keyboards.
At present, Nordstom hasn’t issued any public statements confirming or denying whether the scammers successfully stole any customer credit card data.
Experts also pointed out that the store’s credit card terminals used encryption software, so it’s possible credit card data would have been useless to the thieves anyway.
Skimming Scam Confined to Single Nordstrom Store
A Nordstrom spokesperson stated that this incident was isolated to a single store. Hopefully, since the culprits have been caught, authorities will soon be able to confirm that no one’s information was stolen. For now, customers can take heart in knowing that the skimming devices were discovered and reported very quickly.
Even so, it’s another good reason to check your credit card statement regularly for suspicious charges. As skimming becomes a more sophisticated, widespread scam, it’s even more important for consumers to be proactive about their finances and protect their identity. Remember to check your credit report every 12 months and always report any unauthorized or fraudulent activity as soon as you spot it.
What do you think? Are you worried about someone stealing your credit card when you shop at Nordstrom? Share your thoughts in the comments.