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Craft stores may be tied to ID thefts

May 5, 2011 9:58:24 AM PDT
Authorities in three area counties are warning shoppers about identity theft. Victims reported problems after using a debit or credit card at some Michael's craft stores.

Authorities say Michael's shoppers over the past few months need to check their bank statements. Shoppers in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties have found discrepancies.

"When you find out what is happening, thank God, because they could have taken even more money from me," said Brandi Ramundo.

"They were from ATMs that were from nowhere that I have ever been to. And immediately I started panicking," said Jennifer Gatz.

Ramundo and Gatz learned they were victims of identity theft after checking their bank accounts. They shared one thing in common: both shopped at a Michael's Arts and Crafts store.

"I couldn't believe it because it is a well-known, a huge chain. I was actually shocked. We had our credit cards in hand. There had to be a skimming device capturing it," said

Michael's released a statement saying the company may have been a victim of PIN tampering in the Chicago area and that customer debit and credit card information may have been compromised. The retailer is encouraging customers to take precautions.

The Better Business Bureau says to check your debit accounts on a daily basis for irregular statements and fully understand the liabilities with a debit card.

"After 60 days, you could be liable for the full amount that was stolen from you," said Steve Bernas, BBB.

A spokesperson for Michael's says they only recently learned of the security breach. They say they have taken immediate steps to protect their customers.

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