South San Jose residents victim to widespread grocery store credit card fraud

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- It may be the holiday season, but it's also the most wonderful time of year for credit card fraudsters.

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For some people in South San Jose, last-minute holiday shopping is on hold.

That's because their credit cards were compromised due to hundreds of dollars in fake charges.

The thing they all appear to have in common, the last charges before the fake charges popped up were made at two unsuspecting locations

"We shop a lot at the Nob Hill at Santa Teresa Boulevard here at Snell and there's also a Starbucks there," Fraud victim David Brooks said. "Looking at the Nextdoor app, I saw a common thread between people shopping at those locations."

In fact, there were double-digit complaints online from residents who shopped at this Nob Hill Foods and then soon received calls about fraudulent charges.


Some charges were in the $400 range and most made at various Safeway and Wells Fargo ATM locations across the Bay Area.

These include in Milpitas, Mountain View and Menlo Park.

When we reached out to Safeway, Wendy Gutshall, Director of Public and Government Affairs for Safeway, said the asset protection department has looked into the issue and they have not received such reports.

"It's just really frustrating I guess because we'll be delayed about a week and a half until I can get another card to use because now my card has been deactivated," Fraud victim Robert Weller said. "I think that happens for most people, once their number is known, they have to deactivate their card. When you're trying to Christmas shop and things and you're not able to use your card, it makes it really difficult. "

In a statement to ABC7 News, Chelsea Minor with Raley's Foods said, "We have completed a review at Nob Hill in San Jose and at this time, do not have reason to believe our system was compromised."

She added the store performs daily physical inspections to report any evidence of compromise.


While many are frustrated and want answers, Weller hopes this issue can be used as a learning opportunity.

"Well I hope that we can find out how it happened first of all so it doesn't happen again whether it's the fault of one store or some other company doing it," Weller said. "But the other thing I hope is that we find a way to help people who would want to do this so they don't do this and give them the opportunity to live better."

Experts say the holidays are a peak time for credit card fraud.

But there are ways to protect yourself.

"One advice is to use the chip reader rather than the magnetic stripe because those are more difficult to skim," Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely.org, said. "Or you can use an app such as Apple Pay or Google Pay at a terminal or location at a store."

Magid adds consumers should always check their statements frequently to spot any suspicious activity.

"The holiday season is definitely the active season for cybercriminals," Magid said. "They know that people are in a hurry and they know that we have our guard down. This is the time of year that you should have your guard up because criminals are having a big holiday as well as the rest of us."
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