Schemers skim Barnes & Noble PIN pads

Barnes & Noble Inc. is urging customers who have shopped at their stores within the past couple of months to check their credit and debit card bills for any suspicious activity in the wake of a nationwide crime.

The company announced in a press release Wednesday that sophisticated criminals planted electronic devices on PIN pads and stole personal information such as credit card and PIN numbers from thousands of customers at 63 locations – including six in the Bay Area.

Although her information has been previously stolen, Natalie Sanchez told ABC-7 she’s not concerned about the situation since identity and credit card fraud were already common problems:

“I would have a problem with it if my card, credit card companies themselves, were not so proactive in reversing the fees and reversing the problem.”

Barnes & Noble said that just one device in each of the affected stores was tampered with. All PIN pads throughout their 700 locations were disconnected on Sept. 14 after the company learned of the crime.

Information regarding when the devices were placed and how long they were used before they were discovered has yet to be released.

The company assured, however, that any credit or debit purchases made through their website or Nook apps were not affected by the breach.

In a letter written to Gene DeFelice, Barnes & Noble’s vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said that because of the concern for individuals affected in his state:

“… my office is requesting detailed information on how this breach occurred, what steps have been taken to protect the affected individuals, and what new procedures have been adopted to prevent future data breaches.”

Barnes & Noble said it is assisting federal law enforcement authorities as well as banks, payment card brands and issuers to identify any compromised accounts, so that enhanced security measures can be taken in the future.

The company urges anybody who has paid with a debit card in the past two months to change their PIN number, as well as immediately notify their bank if they discover any unauthorized purchases, withdrawals or cash advances.