Warning: Criminal ring outfitting Aldi supermarkets with card skimmers

You’re probably familiar with skimmers on ATMs and how they can be used to steal money out of your checking account.

But did you know that skimmers can also be fit over those card terminals where you checkout at the grocery store?

RELATED: The #1 way to protect yourself from ATM card skimmers

Aldi gets hit by skimmer gang

Philly.com reports that police in Montgomery County have issued a warning about a criminal ring that installed two skimmers at Aldi supermarkets in the greater Philadelphia area.

Two men were captured on video installing a skimming device in an Aldi checkout lane in Lower Pottsgrove Township. A warning issued by police to other area Aldis subsequently led to the discovery of a second skimmer in Limerick Township.

suspected aldi skimmer criminals
Montgomery County police

The criminals who installed these skimmers at the Aldis are slick. They managed to do it in just seconds while the cashier scanned groceries and loaded them into a waiting cart!

The first skimmer was discovered on January 30. Police say that “multiple victims had their debit card information compromised” before they could remove the threat.

The end game of any skimmer scam is to capture the info from your card and the PIN you enter. Once criminals seize that info, they can make duplicate cards and start draining money from your account.

That’s why money expert Clark Howard has long said that if you choose to use a debit card, you have to be on top of your checking statements. Get in the habit of checking them daily.

Since the money comes directly out of your checking, you stand to lose big bucks if you aren’t on top of reporting fraudulent activity.

With a debit card, you only have two business days to report any fraudulent spending to your bank. If you do that, your losses will be capped at $50 under federal law. But if you wait any longer than two business days to report the funny business, your losses could potentially be unlimited.

Here are some basic debit card safety tips to keep in mind

  1. The best way to avoid putting your card into a skimmer is to wiggle the plastic slot or entry point. If it feels loose or compromised in some way, that’s a warning sign.
  2. Scratches or tape residue are also evidence that the terminal or ATM you’re about to use may be compromised.
  3. Always use one hand to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN.
  4. Avoid ATMs in tourist areas. They are popular targets for skimmer gangs because of the high volume of foot traffic.
  5. If your card won’t come out of the machine or payment terminal, get in touch with your bank and alert them.
  6. Avoid independent ATMs — most ATM hacking crime happens at these machines, not bank-affiliated machines.

RELATED: 9 places you should never use a debit card

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