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Oct 7, 2016 2:53 PM

Surveillance of credit fraud in Home Depot prompts warning from Merrimack Police


MERRIMACK - Police are urging consumers to use the chip technology on credit and debit cards to avoid being a victim of theft.

Surveillance video from the Home Depot in Merrimack shows a man using several cards at a self check out kiosk to purchase a high-end kitchen faucet. Detectives with the Merrimack Police Department said it's part of a larger scam and the suspect will likely sell the item or return it for store credit or cash.

The card was traced back to man in Saco, Maine who doesn't shop at the Merrimack store. Police said his number was intercepted online but it prompted police to warn consumers about keeping information secure.

"The EMV chip is the way to go," said Detective Scott Park. "It takes a little bit longer at the register but we're not seeing anyone with reproduced, cloned cards with chips on them at all."

The cards with chip technology generates a new code with each use, unlike the older technology which uses one code and can be stolen by criminals.

"It actually changes the code so it can't be reproduced that easily. And for these individuals to get their hands on the machinery and the equipment they need to compromise a chip card is extremely expensive, to the point where they'll never be able to stay on top of it," Park said.

Home Depot responded to a request from NH1 News and said the chip technology has proven safest and has been in place at Home Depot locations since 2014.

"We’ve pushed financial institutions to put Chip and PIN in place for years now. Chip and PIN is even more secure. But retailers (merchants) don’t dictate the security measures for payment cards. The banks do. Unfortunately, most fraudsters also create fake IDs so checking a driver’s license isn’t terribly helpful," said Stephen Holmes, Director of Corporate Communications.

In the video, it does not appear an employee who assisted the man asked for identification.

If a register does not have a chip reader, Park recommends people watch their bank statements and credit reports regularly.

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