Customers of 63 Barnes & Noble stores across the nation might have been victims of a security breach compromising the way purchases by credit or debit cards were processed.

The Fortune 500 company said on Oct. 24 that scam artists “planted bugs,” also known as skimmers, in the PIN pad machines to pull information from unsuspecting customers purchasing books and other products offered by the book giant.

“Upon detecting evidence of tampering, which was limited to one compromised PIN pad in each of the affected stores, Barnes & Noble discontinued use of all PIN pads in its nearly 700 stores nationwide,” said the company, in a statement released Oct. 24.

“The tampering, which affected fewer than 1% of PIN pads in Barnes & Noble stores, was a sophisticated criminal effort to steal credit card information, debit card information, and debit card PIN numbers from customers who swiped their cards through PIN pads when they made purchases.”

The company said that Barnes & Noble stores attached to college bookstores were not a part of the breach. Consumers who used their information online at Barnes & were also unaffected.

The scam hit stores in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Customers in these states are encouraged to change the PIN numbers to their debit cards, look closely at their account statements and contact their financial institutions if suspicious activity occurs. 

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer