‘DO NOT put the card in the machine AT ALL’: Walmart shopper claims they found a card skimmer on checkout machine
Card skimming is a surprisingly common way for thieves to steal credit card information.
According to the FBI, “Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders’ PINs.”
In practice, this can take a few forms. In some cases, a thief may install a small card reader in front of the normal reader that allows a customer to complete their transaction as normal, not knowing that their information has just been stolen.
Other thieves go even further, purchasing custom-made replicas of card readers that can be placed over existing card readers to capture a customer’s data.
The latter type of card skimmer is what appears to have been discovered by TikTok user Tori (@abundancetori) at a Walmart location in Houston, Texas.
@abundancetori This is a public service announcement 🗣 #walmart @walmart come check on y’all’s people. My credit card info was almost stolen and I wouldn’t have know or had any clue how or why. Please #sharethisvideo #fyp #scam #bewareofscam ♬ James Hype Ferrari Showmusik Remix – Showmusik
In a video with over 660,000 views as of Friday, Tori says she discovered the device while checking out.
“We just found a scammer device on the scanner,” she says. In the caption, she adds, “This is a public service announcement…@walmart come check on y’all’s people. My credit card info was almost stolen and I wouldn’t have known or had any clue how or why.”
While Walmart has dealt with card skimmers on their self-checkout machines before, they are far from the only chain to fall victim to this crime.
Last year, several users went viral after discovering card skimmers on machines at 7-Eleven. In 2014, 13 people were indicted after allegedly using Bluetooth-enabled card skimmers attached to ATMs at gas stations across the southern United States.
On TikTok, users stressed that this crime is common and that shoppers should be vigilant before inserting their cards into a machine.
“NOT ONLY WALMART! Gas Stations, ATMS, Grocery Stores! use the chip/pin DO NOT put the card in the machine AT ALL,” a user advised.
“This why my cards stay on lock till I need to use them then back on lock,” another added.
That said, some wondered how a card skimmer could have been installed on a Walmart card machine given the company’s famously strict security.
“So if they are watching you like a hawk checking out why aren’t they catching this happening?” a user asked.
“Interesting…Walmart cameras can catch people not scanning food and other items without paying but not someone installing a skimmer,” offered another.
We’ve reached out to Walmart via the media contact form and Tori via her website contact form.
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*First Published: Feb 3, 2023, 7:30 am CST
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine, and more.