Credit card fraud remains one of the biggest financial threats to consumers all over the world. Giant Food, a grocer in the Washington area, has stopped accepting credit card payments when buying gift cards or prepaid debit cards.
It does not happen often retailers stop accepting one of the more popular payment methods in the world today, but Giant Food saw no other options. The grocer has been dealing with massive amounts of fraudulent credit card transactions by customers buying prepaid debit cards or gift cards to use at the store.
In fact, the store has put a clear sign at the checkout warning customers credit card payments are no longer accepted for gift and prepaid debit cards. To buy these items, consumers must pay in cash or use bank pin-based debit. This policy change went into effect in March of 2016 but has gone by unnoticed by the media for some unknown reason.
Criminals obtaining stolen credit cards tend to target groceries and other smaller retailers more often than not, so it makes sense Giant Food is preventing these types of purchases all of a sudden. Moreover, with the number of credit card phishing attempts on the rise, a lot of criminals resort to embossing their own cards, which are then cashed out through grocery stores such as Giant Food.
Laundering money with stolen credit cards has become a lot easier throughout the years. Converting a card into a gift card effectively launders money, as the gift card can be resold for cash or any other payment method. This type of criminal activity is often conducted by street gangs, as it is one of the easiest ways to get quick and clean cash.
Some people might argue the EMV chip should prevent these types of fraudulent activity, and there is a certain merit to that statement. However, as Krebs on Security mentions, most of the Giant Food cashiers will swipe a chip-based card, negating the additional security. Unfortunately, far too few retailers allow for chip transactions, regardless of whether or not they have the necessary terminal installed.
Bitcoin transactions would make a lot more sense as they negate credit card fraud entirely. But at the same time, it would require a fair bit of staff training to get cashiers up to speed on how Bitcoin transactions work. Moreover, consumers would have to embrace the payment solution as well, which will be the biggest hurdle to overcome.
What are your thoughts on grocery stores falling victim to large-scale credit card fraud? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Giant Food, Shutterstock
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