Lake Nebagamon business, customers victim of virusMore than two dozen cases of credit and debit card fraud have been linked to a Lake Nebagamon business.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
More than two dozen cases of credit and debit card fraud have been linked to a Lake Nebagamon business.
According to Sgt. Richard Schnell with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, the culprit was a computer virus that targets small businesses by snagging card information before it is encrypted. The gas and grocery store, Ole’s Country Market, fully cooperated with the department.
“They’ve upgraded their system and taken security measures,” Schnell said.
Amanda Majetich of Lake Nebagamon learned about the identity theft through a friend’s Facebook post. Knowing she’d used her debit card at Ole’s recently, she went online to check her Superior Choice Credit Union account. She found a charge from England and two from North Carolina on her statement within the past two days, each for a few hundred dollars.
She called SCCU right away. The financial institution canceled her card and reimbursed the stolen funds.
“Luckily I caught it soon enough,” Majetich said.
But it left her with concerns about her debit card.
“I use it everywhere,” the Lake Nebagamon woman said. “It’s scary this could happen.”
With Black Friday on the way, is there any way to protect your financial identity?
“We don’t want to scare people from using debit cards or credit cards,” said Bobbie Dumonsau, senior vice president of deposit operations at National Bank of Commerce. “They are safe.”
She stressed that instances of financial fraud are “minute” compared to the volume of transaction activity a financial institution sees every single day.
But there are many ways criminals can steal financial data, from skimming devices that pull the information as the card slides through and “shoulder surfers” who peek as people type in their PIN to viruses like the one that attacked Ole’s.
If you’re planning on ditching the plastic and returning to paper, think again.
“Checks aren’t safer,” Dumonsau said. If thieves can capture an image of the check, they can print it anywhere.
She said when using a debit card people can either endorse it with a signature or a Personal Identification Number (PIN). The PIN is safer, although hackers can get either method and some businesses don’t accept PINs. Dumonsau also said she, personally, would use her credit card instead of her debit card for online purchases.
Vigilance is the best defense against identity theft.
“Watch your account,” Dumonsau said. “We’re all vulnerable.” She urged everyone to use their online banking services to check account balances daily. Dumonsau also encouraged people not to open or answer emails from an unknown source and to steer clear of websites claiming you will earn money right away.
Financial crime doesn’t affect just the people whose accounts were hacked. Financial institutions and credit card companies have to return the money that was stolen.
“Ole’s was a victim, just like the customers and we are victims,” Dumonsau said.
Majetich said having a store like Ole’s in the village is convenient. She often stops there for a needed ingredient to make dinner or an emergency gallon of milk. That isn’t going to change.
“I can’t see placing blame on them,” Majetich said. “I would hate to see their business affected.” But she said may keep a limited amount of spare change on hand for those trips.