Local grocery store hit in card-skimming scam

The Lucky grocery store in Mountain View is among 20 Bay Area stores in the Save Mart Supermarket chain where tampering was found at credit and debit card readers at self-checkout lanes.

Steps were immediately taken to remove the tampered card readers in the affected stores, the company said in a news release.

"We are not aware, nor have we been notified of any reports that customer accounts were compromised," the company said in a release.

Besides Mountain View, the affected Lucky stores are in Sunnyvale, Pinole, Milpitas, Redwood City, El Cerrito, Daly City, Foster City, San Carlos, Millbrae and Alameda, as well as one in Santa Clara, one in San Francisco, two in Fremont and four in San Jose.

The suspected card skimming also was reported at a Save Mart store in Watsonville.

Alicia Rockwell, the company's director of public affairs, said a couple of Lucky store employees reported incidents at the Lucky store in Petaluma over the weekend, but the self-checkout readers and those at checkouts staffed by employees were clean.

The skimming devices that are installed in the card machines capture credit card numbers and debit card pin numbers. Identity thieves then make transactions on those cards.

The company first learned about the problem around Nov. 11 and sent out a Consumer Advisory on Nov. 23, Rockwell said.

The compromised machines were found in the 21 stores when all 233 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada were checked, Rockwell said.

Stephen Ackerman, chief financial officer of Save Mart, said today the company expects to learn this week the starting and ending dates of the credit and debit card reader tampering.

The company has had the full support of local, state and federal authorities, financial institutions and card processors, Ackerman said.

"At this time, we strongly recommend that anyone who used our self-check terminals in the affected stores during the months of October and November consider closing their bank account and opening a new one," Ackerman


Authorities say the thefts are most likely to occur over the weekend when most financial institutions are closed or have limited hours.

Customers with compromised account statements should contact the Lucky Customer Support Center at (800) 692-5710.

Save Mart operates 233 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky and FoodMaxx banners.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jon Victorino
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 6, 2011 at 11:16 am

There's no E in "Daly City"

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Dec 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

Thanks for the catch! Hopefully Bay City News Service knows better and it was just a typo.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wendy
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Likely they will be in other stores in the area, so be careful. I have been told not to use cards linked to bank accounts (use credit cards) or to use cash.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by mary
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:14 am

I'll tell you why they hit the Mountain View store - no cashiers, no one to watch over the self service counters. I had trouble with a price check at the self service counter and there were no cashiers around to help except for the one that was busy helping in-line customers. i ended up leaving all my groceries on the self-service counter after 5 minutes of hoping some would come around.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by W-Park Dude
a resident of Waverly Park
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Mary, the Mountain View Lucky's store is somehow different and the Sunnyvale store or the Palo Alto store, etc? These guys have likely striked all Lucky stores instead of other stores like Safeway because there are less employees manning the front of the stores and they can go undetected while they do whatever they have to do. Having gone to Lucky's in MV and other places, and not liking it, at least that's what it seems to me. I think the moral to the story is be super careful when utilizing your credit or bank card and unless you're sure you're safe, consider using cash.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Obs
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

We were at that Well's Fargo at San Antonio a few weeks ago, and there was a young guy taking close up and farther away photos of the ATM slot. Someone alerted a nearby cop, but they didn't do much. The young guy went in the bank when they approached, came out the other side of the bank and was studiously "cleaning" the ATM reader area, with a small spray bottle and rag in hand that he had ostensibly pulled from the pockets of his voluminous board shorts. The cops seemed almost uninterested' and the guy was once again pointed out. I didn't see what happened, but it just seems childs play to get up and close, especially for someone who knows what to put in there.

We had a bunch of break ins in our neighborhood that, long story short (and please remember I just said that) seemed suspiciously like what you would get if someone were using an rfid "sniffer" for certain chips or products.

Violent crime is down; is crime down? (Seeing as white collar crime does't seem to be taken very seriously... Or is that just big time white collar crime?)

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Draeger’s Los Altos eyes upgrades, expansion
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 3,263 views

Housing is for People
By Steve Levy | 33 comments | 2,250 views

College Visit: Lehigh and Lafayette
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 4 comments | 1,585 views

Is Coffee a Date?
By Laura Stec | 16 comments | 1,240 views

Gratitude, Repairing and Avoiding Affairs
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 611 views