Identity Thieves Victimize Hancock Customers In Several States

News reports are coming in from several states detailing a debit card identity theft scheme in which thieves steal debit card info and pin numbers, then withdraw money from customers’ accounts.

Reports are popping up in Wisconsin, California, Missouri and other states.

The Napa Valley Register reports that police say it all may have started in Wisconsin:

Authorities in Wisconsin have tied the thefts to machines in Hancock Fabric stores in Stevens Point and Marshfield, Wisc., said Portage Sheriff’s Department Detective Sgt. Gary Koehmstedt, who heads the department’s detective bureau. The cash withdrawals came over several days from the Milwaukee area last weekend from customers who made purchases in August and September, he said.

Koehmstedt estimated the total loss around $40,000, with some of the charges up to $2,000 from individual accounts.

“The banks are really the victims here because the customers aren’t going to be out the money,” he said.

Have you heard about this happening in your state?

Napa ATM thefts may have Wisconsin tie [Napa Valley Register]
(Photo: katbert)
(Thanks, LD!)

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  1. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    That’s why I make my own fabric at home.

    Save the discarded hair from the cats, spin it into thread on the spinning wheel in my garret (my hide it from Sleeping Beauty’s father or he’ll have it burned), weave it into fabric, and VOILA, no identity theft!

  2. Snakeophelia says:

    Interesting. Wonder why they started with a fabric store. Was there an insider to help them, or did they assume that people who shop at fabric stores are less tech-savvy and wouldn’t notice fake devices, or money missing from their accounts?

    Nonetheless, nice photo of the Marimekko fabric. I didn’t think they sold it here, though; I thought you had to still buy it in/from Finland.

    • bones11 says:

      @Snakeophelia: Possibly because mostly older women shop there and maybe the thieves thought they don’t check their bank accounts as frequently or as in much detail as they should…? Just throwing it out there. I know my grandma shops there a ton and if a charge came up on her cc this big she most likely wouldn’t know how to take care of it and would pass the ball to my grandpa.

  3. bohemian says:

    Possibly open wireless internet used on their card scanners that are built into their registers that are really glorified computers? I think I remember hearing of one ID theft that happened due to card data being moved via a wifi connection.

    This wouldn’t shock me since we have accidentally found open store wifi signals when trying to connect to a legit open wifi in a shopping district.

    • TheLemon says:

      @bohemian: According to the above Missouri link:

      “Investigators believe the old credit card readers at the stores may have been capturing account and pin numbers.”

  4. wirebender says:

    my checking account was taken for $2000 last week! Sure enough my wife went to Hancock fabrics in Sept to buy some ribbon. I was going over my statement and found 4 fraudulant ATM charges last night.

    Today I had to go to the bank and fill out an affidavit of fraud and then go to police station and file a report and then fax a copy to the bank. What a headache! They said the money will be returned in 48-96 hours. I’m lucky I still have money in my account to cover outstanding checks, etc!

    I’m rethinking using my debit card so frequently. We have a special rewards checking that gives 4% interest, but requires 12 debit transacations/mo. Anyway, it can happen to you!!!