Chicago Michaels Stores Reporting Data Theft

Michaels stores in the Chicago area reported customers' credit and debit card information has been compromised

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Knitters, quilters and crafters beware.

    Chicago-area locations of Michaels Stores Inc. want customers to know some credit card and debit information has been compromised because of "PIN pad tampering" in the stores.  

    Authorities contacted the Irving, Texas-based company last weekend, alerting them to ID thieves making fraudulent transactions in customers' bank accounts after they shopped at Michaels.

    Among the victims was Elizabeth Buchanan, who considers herself a regular customer of arts-and-crafts-retailer.

    Little did she know that a simple purchase of paint for her daughter last week would draw her into a convoluted web of identity theft.

    "I'm a little upset that they targetted me at a store that I frequent," she said.

    Buchanan said it wasn't until Wednesday, a few days after her debit card purchase at Michaels, that her bank informed her that her account had been raided. An unauthorized withdrawal of $503 was made on Sunday from an ATM in Las Vegas.  The same amount was swiped from her bank account on Monday from a different ATM in Las Vegas.

    "I know there are crooks out there. I never thought they'd get me," she said.

    Buchanan has filed a police report and a loss/fraud report with her bank. She says her bank promised full restitution within 10-14 days.

    The U.S. Secret Service told NBC Chicago that it's launched an investigation into this chain of identity theft, but declined to discuss the breadth of its probe.

    Authorities recommend customers change their debit PIN numbers and any other security settings in their accounts.

    Michaels has 35-Chicago-area locations. The company has a statement on its website, michaels.com.