The Main Stream

Feb 6, 2013 1:20 AM

Cyber thieves target Bashas' customers

Tucson- An International fraud investigation has been uncovered involving cyber theft around the world and even here in Arizona targeting Basha's Grocery Stores.

Cyber criminals reportedly stole credit card information from customers from all of Bashas' family of stores, including AJ's Fine foods and Food City.

At the beginning of January the Pinal County Sheriff's Department started getting reports of fraudulent credit and debit card charges.

To date over 400 cases have now been filed, 150 in Lake Havasu City.

All have been traced back to Bashas' chain of stores. So far none have been reported in Pima county.

The thieves apparently used a high tech "malware" never seen before. Beginning in July of 2012, they used the software to make duplicates of the credit card numbers, then used those to buy prepaid cards.

Ken Colburn, from Data Doctors, says once thieves get access it is hard to protect your data, "They're looking for one of these connections that is not highly secured", said Colburn, "once they break it, there logged into a network and can get whatever information they want."

Because it is an international case, the FBI is involved and they are now searching for three suspects.

In a Statement from Basha's Family of Stores, Director of Communications, Kristy Jozwiak said, "We were recently the victim of a cyber attack by highly sophisticated criminals who gained access to parts of our systems to capture payment information. we are cooperating with federal law enforcement officials to undergo a thorough and exhaustive investigation."

The grocery chain claims that the malware has been contained. It was also reported that all victims of fraud in Pinal County have been reimbursed. But in Tucson, that is of little comfort to Bashas' customer, Gabe Ortero, "I don't know for sure if it came from Bashes, but somebody got my credit card information from somewhere", he said, "it could happen to anybody, you never know."

Although there have been no reported incidents of cyber theft related to the grocery chain in Pima County, Basha's is strongly urging all of their customers statewide to closely monitor all of their debit and credit card transactions and to report any unusual activity.

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