Credit card skimmers target Lunds & Byerlys self-checkout stations

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Authorities are investigating more than a dozen incidents of credit card skimming across the Twin Cities.

Lunds & Byerlys said the thieves are targeting their self-checkout stations, and the grocery store chain said in a statement that four stores were impacted.

Now, the BCA's Financial Crimes Task Force is taking the lead.

"It was a surprise to us as well," said Commander John Altman with Woodbury Police.

Altman said one of the alleged incidents happened at the Lunds & Byerlys in Woodbury.

"It was one of the store managers that detected the skimmer placed on one of the self-checkouts," Altman said.

In a statement, Lunds & Byerlys said criminals also targeted one self-checkout terminal at their stores in Eagan, St. Louis Park and Northeast Minneapolis.

"When the skimmers were discovered, we immediately notified law enforcement and provided them with the devices and additional information to assist in a federal investigation. Based on our work with local law enforcement and forensic experts, it appears only transactions where a credit or debit card was swiped are potentially impacted as there was not a chip reader on these known skimmers," the company said.

"Usually working in pairs, one person is doing the dirty work while the other one is going through the motions of buying their products," Altman said.

Lunds & Byerlys believes the impact is limited to 10 customer transactions at the Northeast Minneapolis location between Jan. 30th and Feb. 5th.

"Typically, that's the case, they come through the city, and they move on," Altman said.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Commander Altman said the way you swipe your credit card makes a big difference.

"Chip cards are certainly the best level of security, the mag stripe is extremely old technology and that is how consumers are getting burned on their credit cards," Altman said.

Altman also recommended Apple or Android Pay to beat the skimmers.

"The most important thing is to make sure you're using the highest level of security that you can," Altman said.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if there's a skimming device attached to where you're paying. Another thing Altman recommended is to look at the other kiosks around you and ask yourself if they match. If not, notify that store's manager and police. Altman said he believes the cases are connected.

If you feel like you could be a victim, you should contact police or your bank. Lunds & Byerlys also urged anyone who thinks they were impacted to contact them at 952-548-1400.