This is a little late, since I was off on holliers when it came to light — Galway News reports ‘hundreds hit by skimming scam’:
The account details of shoppers who used credit or laser cards to pay for their groceries and other items in a number of Galway shops and supermarkets were illegally skimmed by a gang who apparently managed to interfere with the Chip & PIN terminals at the stores’ check-out counters.
The Irish Times story:
However, it has emerged some cardholders had several thousand euro taken from their accounts overseas before they realised what was happening and alerted their card provider. And it is feared that thousands of other customers do not yet realise their cards have been cloned. Garda sources have confirmed the case involves thousands of cards.
The Galway investigation is centred on one large shop in the county. Gardaí believe several thousand cards have had all of their details skimmed, including pin numbers, over the past month. Some of the cards have already been cloned and used in Canada and other countries where, unlike Ireland, chip and pin protective technology is not in use.
In the Galway case […] Detectives are working on the theory that somebody in the Galway shop may have facilitated the card skimming for an Eastern European crime syndicate.
Gardaí do not believe the payment terminals were tampered with. Gardaí have recovered CCTV images of suspects from in-store cameras.
In the past, cards have been copied using very small hand held devices through which a card is quickly and discreetly skimmed at the point of payment. The information is then copied, or cloned, onto a blank card which is then used like a regular payment card.
Skimming devices around the size of a cigarette lighter can store details from thousands of cards.
The payment terminals from the Galway shop have been taken by gardaí for technical examination as a precaution. The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is leading the inquiry.
This Boards.IE thread is a real eye-opener, containing lots of reports from victims of this scam — many reports saying that they suspect it was in Joyces’ Supermarket in Knocknacarra, although one poster reckons ‘there are now over 20 suspect premises in Galway City and outskirts’. blimey.
On a related note — while shopping in my local supermarket at the weekend, I was pleased to note that when I paid with my credit card, I was asked to sign the slip, instead of using Chip-and-PIN. So it looks like at least one retailer is taking additional care.
On the other hand, the thread also notes many cases of skimming which took place from in-store ATMs in small convenience stores — those are very widespread now. eek. :(