Safeway Inc. is denying reports that incidents of bank card skimming may have occurred at stores in Menlo Park.
KPIX-TV (Channel 5) has been reporting that Safeway is investigating card-skimming incidents in the Bay Area, citing a "Krebs on Security" blog post that says: "In California, banks there strongly suspect Safeway locations in Castro Valley and Menlo Park may also have been hit."
Safeway spokesperson Wendy Gutshall, said those reports "regarding stores in Castro Valley and Menlo Park are inaccurate."
Two skimmers were discovered at Safeway locations in Dublin and Walnut Creek in September, during routine inspections, she said, but no credit or debit card data was compromised. "No skimmers have been discovered since that time," she said.
Nicole Acker, spokesperson for the Menlo Park Police Department, said that there have been no cases reported involving card skimmers in Menlo Park Safeway stores.
Card skimmers vary in technological capabilities, but usually include some version of a face plate to cover ATMs or other card-swipe pinpads, or a handheld card reader, enabling potential thieves to gain access to the card information on the magnetic stripe of debit or credit cards. They also require some way to find out cardholders' PIN numbers, which can be done by having observers peek over shoulders as PINs are being entered or by installing a hidden pinhole camera on the machine, pointing at the pinpad. Card skimmers have reportedly been found on automated movie rental kiosks like Redbox and are said to be used most frequently at restaurants, bars and gas stations.
Ms. Gutshall said that Safeway customers who have concerns about the Safeway card skimming reports should review their bank activity during September and October or contact their cardholder or bank directly.
Other recommended measures are to cover the keypad with your hand even if you are alone at a pinpad or ATM and to review your bank and card statements on a regular basis.