Grocer Aldi says customers may be victims of national scam

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Grocery chain Aldi Inc. says private information of its customers in 11 states may have been exposed to theft when they paid for purchases using payment terminals that had been tampered with.

The company said last week that vandalized terminals were placed in stores between June and August and let unauthorized individuals see Aldi customers' names, account numbers and secret codes.

The company would not disclose the scope of the fraud but says it has removed affected machines from stores and is working with law enforcement.

Lindsay Ormond believes she was a victim after shopping at the Monroe, NC store regularly.  Recently she learned someone withdrew $500 from her bank account in south Charlotte while she was in Monroe with her bank card in her wallet.

"You feel violated.  I feel like I can't use my debit card.  Am I going to pay with cash going forward? Its inconvenient," Ormond said.

The Secret Service is investigating.  It advises customers, no matter where they use their debit and credit cards, to cover they keypad when they enter PIN numbers, and to give the face of a card swiping machine a little tug before they swipe.  If there is a "skimmer" placed over the machine to record card-strokes, it will likely feel loose or come off.

Affected Aldi stores are in parts of Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.