Security & Fraud

ALDI Stores Hit With Credit Card Skimmer

ALDI, the grocery store operator, is being targeted by scammers who are installing credit card skimmers on top of point-of-sale terminals in plain sight.

According to news from TechCrunch on Thursday (Feb. 8), police in Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, have pinpointed a group of thieves as the culprits. They’ve been installing camouflaged skimmers on ALDI credit card terminals right in front of surveillance cameras. Because the skimmers look exactly like legitimate credit card terminals, employees and customers alike have been tricked.

In a blog post covered by TechCrunch, security researcher Brian Krebs said ALDI has yet to install chip-enabled credit cards, even though the company accepts mobile contactless payments, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.

“This is important because these overlay skimmers are designed to steal card data stored on the magnetic stripe when customers swipe their cards,” Krebs wrote.

While there is little recourse for unsuspecting ALDI customers, one startup is aiming to help consumers when they fill up their vehicles at the gas pump. In the fall, Sparkfun created a new mobile app that sets off an alarm if a skimmer is nearby. The app, dubbed Skimmer Scanner, looks for Bluetooth transmissions, talks to the source and determines whether it’s a skimmer or not, reported Forbes. If the app detects questionable behavior, it will send an alert to your smartphone.

The company behind the app has worked with law enforcement agencies and has a deep understanding of how skimmers behave. Skimmer Scanner, which works primarily on skimmers installed at the gas pump, can be downloaded at the Google Play store. There isn’t an iOS version yet, however.

The new app comes at a time when gas station-installed skimmers are growing in popularity among hackers. According to media reports earlier this summer, police have discovered a new credit card skimmer that connects to the inside of a gas station pump and is able to send stolen data via SMS.

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