By Beth Germano, WBZ-TVBy Beth Germano

QUINCY (CBS) — Pam McIsaac of Quincy knew something was wrong when her credit card company contacted her about unusual activity on her Visa debit card.

$200 had been withdrawn on the morning of May 21, another $100 in the afternoon, and $400 on Sunday, May 22. It was all taken from an ATM machine in Anaheim, California.

“I told them I didn’t authorize the withdrawals,” said McIsaac, who was holding the card as she spoke with the representative on the phone.

McIssac was the victim of a debit card fraud scam affecting Michael’s Arts and Crafts stores across the country. Massachusetts is one of nineteen states that’s been targeted by the thieves who’ve compromised information on at least 90 keypads in 80 stores.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

“It’s creepy, very creepy,” said McIsaac, who recently shopped at the Michael’s in Braintree for some yard decorations.

“They sent me a forty percent discount card in the mail and I used it, wow,” she said.

Investigators don’t yet know how thieves were able to tamper with the machines at the check-out counters.

“I’m fascinated how they did it. Were they standing behind me looking over my shoulder?”

McIsaac says she frequently uses her debit card instead of cash for the convenience. Michaels is removing the suspicious swipe pads replacing more than 7,000 in its stores.

Anyone who shopped at the stores between February and May is being urged to check their statements.

Comments (7)
  1. Linda says:

    I just got notified that my card had been used….in Vegas at an ATM. They had to have had my PIN so I’m sure it’s from Michaels. I guess it’s back to check writing or cash!!! Fortunately, banks monitor these transactions that are large because they have to refund the customer’s money if a report is issued on a timely basis (which is why you should keep a close eye on your transactions). My bank was able to stop a $600 withdrawal but a $300 one made it through. I will be refunded but I’m glad I wasn’t counting on that money to buy food!!!

  2. Stacy says:

    I frequently shop at Michaels. After I heard about the problem with the pin pads I changed my pin number on my debit card to be on the safe side. My bank contacted me yesterday to inform me that someone in California had been trying to access my account and then tried to take $300 out of it. Luckily the fact that they tried an incorrect pin number 3 times triggered a fraud notification on my account. I contacted Michaels yesterday to inform them of this transaction because the Salem NH store I shop at wasn’t part of the list of stores with problems. The customer service agent I spoke to was thankful for the new information as Michaels is still gathering information to find the people responsible.

  3. Lydia says:

    They got my debit card info too. Took $300 from an ATM in California on Monday. The bank replaced my card but I have to wait 10 days to get my money back. Horrible that people can do this and get away with it.

  4. Naomi says:

    I am also a Michael’s shopper and my account was cleaned out. First they took $300.00, then continued taking $200.00 until it depleted my account. It was from an ATM in California.

  5. Mary says:

    I am SO glad I read this story today. I had checked my account when this story first came out, since I had been to 3!!! affected stores, and everything was fine.
    I decided to look again, since the comments here mentioned recent withdrawals. I just found two transactions, from Saturday, $500 each, in Boston. Currently on hold with bank. Check your accounts NOW!!!

    1. Lydia says:

      Mary I’m glad you found them. My bank notified me last week of a security breach and sent me a new card. The withdrawals happened Monday, after I got my new card so I was surprised the withdrawals went through. I guess they tried again but it was denied. They also checked my balance to see how much I had. Hope they catch the people behind it.

  6. Alex Graziano says:

    I was contacted also by my bank after shopping at the braintree location. They tried to withdraw over $300 from my account but they were unsuccessful since I only had $20. They are mailing me my new card… Cash from here on out at Michaels!!!

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