Lucky Supermarkets has been overwhelmed with complaints from customers who claim that all the money in their bank accounts has been stolen, after their debit cards were used at the supermarket’s self-checkout counters. According to the authorities, 300 plus customers have been defrauded via unauthorized monetary withdrawals from their bank accounts.
The Modus Operandi
The crime was committed after hackers managed to install devices on the self-checkout aisles to ‘skim’ information. These devices gave them the chance to gather personal details about the supermarket’s customers such as their debit card numbers and their security PINs through remote access. The hackers then transferred the data onto new cards and used them to access the customer’s bank accounts.
The withdrawals have been made from ATMs in the San Francisco, Southern California area. The United States Secret Service has taken up the case.
What is Debit Card Fraud?
Debit card fraud falls under the umbrella of credit card fraud. This usually involves the counterfeit or theft of a payment device (such as a credit or debit card). The card is used in an illegal manner to obtain services, goods or money through deceptive means. This is also considered a form of identity theft as it involves the stealing of personal information in order to use another person’s resources.
Penalties and Restitution
Section 1029, Title 18 of the U.S Code states that the laws concerning debit and credit card fraud were instated on both a state and federal basis. The penalties for this crime vary depending on the laws of the state it was committed in. In general, a first time offender would receive the minimum sentence of 5 years. The maximum sentence is 15 years of jail time. Repeat offenders can be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail. In addition to the time in prison, offenders will also be required to pay a fine of $10,000 or more, as well as costs of court and restitution.