The Fredericksburg Police Department has issued a warning to Central Park shoppers after at least 37 people had their payment cards compromised, and bank accounts drained. In each reported case of theft, the victim had used their card at the local Walmart.
According to a statement from the law enforcement agency, Walmart confirmed that cards used at the Central Park location were compromised.
"Detectives believe the suspects are obtaining debit/credit card numbers by placing overlay devices on credit card readers at checkout counters. Today, Fredericksburg detectives received information from Walmart Global Investigations that debit/credit cards used at the Central Park Wal-Mart have been compromised," said the agency in a statement issued on Saturday.
"A credit union in the Fredericksburg area has reported 37 of their members are victims where their debit cards were used at ATM’s to make large cash withdrawals. The Central Park Walmart has been identified as the place where their members’ debit card numbers/pins were obtained. Nearly all of the 'known' victims had large ATM withdrawals made using their debit card numbers."
It's believed the cards were compromised earlier this year, in either March or April. Police are still investigating in order to determine what registers had skimmers installed. Customers who shopped at that location in either month are encouraged to contact their financial institution and request a new card.
Late last year, debit card fraud was detected at Walmart locations in 16 states, including Virginia. The overall volume of fraud led some institutions to deny debit card purchases entirely. The Front Royal Federal Credit Union still has an active warning on their website regarding the problem, warning customers about the fraud and informing them that they'll be limited to purchases of $200.00 or less.
As for the skimmer likely being used by the crooks, the video below was posted to XSS in March shortly after it was released by the Miami Beach Police. It's a good example of the technology being used for this type of theft. The entire process takes less than three seconds.
Salted Hash has reached out to Walmart and the Fredericksburg Police Department for additional information. This story will be updated as new details become available.