The grocery chain Aldi has removed from its stores debit card terminals that may have been compromised to steal customers' payment information, the retailer said.
It's believed thieves made debit cards with the information either gleaned from skimming devices that swipes the customer's card card information as they make a purchase or by hacking into the store's network.
The link, according to police working on the nearly 140 cases in Wheeling and the 60 in Buffalo Grove, is the Aldi store on Dundee Road in Wheeling.
With locations around the country, Aldi is not specifying which stores are involved and is not talking about how scam could have happened, but said that a national security review has been completed.
"Aldi is committed to protecting out customers and their electronic information. Payment card companies have been notified so they can take appropriate steps such as monitoring accounts or reissuing cards. In addition, we have implemented additional security measures to prevent this type of attack from occurring again," the Batavia-based chain said in a statement.
The Better Business Bureau says there's no reason for shoppers at Aldi to believe they're more vulnerable.
"It could happen anywhere. It’s increasing this crime. It’s happening on every corner of the world right now," said Steve Bernas, the President and CEO of the Chicago/Northern Illinois BBB.
He adds that the sour economy has made thieves more desperate for a quick turn. At the same time, he stresses that cons have gotten more technologically sophisticated.
But to make yourself a tougher target, Bernas recommends cash or credit as the ways to go when you shop. Credit card users have additional legal protections and may be liable for just the first $50 in cases of fraud.
And, for extra insurance, be sure to check your credit history once a year. Bernas said cons strikes quickly.
"Sometimes you don’t even know you’ve been victimized. Sometimes it takes a month or two months and they can take a lot of money by that point," he said.