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Credit Card Skimmer Found at Germantown Safeway Store

Montgomery County Police are warning consumers to take note of any defects or minor differences in the point-of-sale devices at supermarkets and retailers after a skimming device was found at the Safeway Store in Germantown.

Police were called to the Safeway Store at 19718 Germantown Road on Thursday, January 28, after someone noted a suspicious device on a credit card terminal in one of the self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, said MCPD spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti.

Innocenti said detectives from the MCPD’s Financial Crimes Division determined that the machine was a skimming device used to collect credit card information as well as pin numbers. “Detectives called this particular device an overlay skimmer because it goes right on top of the legitimate device,” said Innocenti. “This was at the self-checkout lane. It is easier to put these devices on the self-checkout lanes because there isn’t an employee there 100 percent of the time to watch the machines and behavior of customers.”

Detectives believe that no consumer information was comprised. “With a skimmer device such as this,” said Innocenti, “the suspect has to come back to retrieve the device to access the information the skimmer has collected. In this case, that did not happen because it was detected prior to the criminal coming back to collect the device. There were no victims, per se, in this case.”

According to police, this type of device captures the information contained on a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip but, since the police have the device, they believe information is safe.