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Hey Starbucks Barista - Tall, Mocha, Non-fat, No whip and Clone my Credit/Debit Card to go


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If you have grabbed a Starbucks coffee recently and used your credit or debit card, check your bank account as cards have been "skimmed" at multiple Starbucks locations - although the company refuses to say exactly where.

A Surrey man is in custody in Seattle after banks discovered hundreds of Canadian credit and debit cards had been “skimmed” in several Vancouver coffee shops by what police call the “coffee shop gang.”

Cards cloned using the stolen information were used to withdraw $209,210 from bank machines in Seattle, law enforcement officials allege in documents filed with the U.S. district court in Seattle. In addition, the gang tried unsuccessfully to withdraw another $385,659.31.

A U.S. Secret Service agent said in the documents the investigation continues and he expects additional losses will be uncovered.

Dennis Nguyen of Surrey was arrested on Feb. 12 and charged with possessing a card-encoding device.

The suspicious activity was spotted in December by an investigator with the Boeing Employees Credit Union in Seattle. He identified a group of individuals making fraudulent cash withdrawals at bank machines. He gathered surveillance photos and a list of the card numbers being used.

Investigators traced the numbers to accounts at the Vancity credit union in Vancouver. They discovered the information on the cards had been stolen, probably using doctored PIN pads secretly substituted for store devices, when cards were used at “multiple” Starbucks locations in Vancouver as well as “The Dirty Apron Coffee.” No address was provided for the latter and there is no phone listing for it.

There is a Dirty Apron delicatessen and cooking school in Gastown, but a woman who answered the phone at the business had no knowledge of the case.

Starbucks public affairs director Luisa Girotto would not name the affected stores. She said the company has put its employees in the Lower Mainland on high alert, and instructing them to report any irregularities. The company has also installed security cables on PIN pads to help prevent the devices from being compromised, Girotto said.

Investigators, including the RCMP, found cash had been fraudulently withdrawn at least 11 points in Seattle on the weekends of Dec. 1 and Dec. 9 of last year as well as Jan. 5, Jan. 20 and Feb. 2.

A break in the case came on Feb. 5, when the Royal Bank of Canada detected a mass cash-out attempt in progress at various bank machines in downtown Seattle. A man identified only as S.Z was arrested by police who seized more than 200 fake credit cards.

S.Z. identified another conspirator, a relative identified as C.R., and they told police they met a man named “Dennis” every two weeks where they turned over most of the cash and were given new cards.

T.Z. and C.R. agreed to set up a meeting with “Dennis” on Feb. 11, the court documents said. Police monitored the meeting and arrested “Dennis” as he drove away. Police seized a bag containing $77,140 in cash, 332 white plastic credit cards which had PINs printed on them, seven cellphones, a cash counting machine, a credit card magnetic strip encoder, a label printer and miscellaneous supplies

Jeff Bos, director of enterprise compliance and security for Vancity, said bank card fraud has dropped by around 45 per cent over the past two years largely because of the introduction of chip card technology that is much more difficult for criminals to crack than magnetic strips.

The credit union offered these tips to consumers:

• Use your hand or body to shield your PIN (personal identification number) when conducting transactions at an automated teller machine or at a point-of-sale terminal.

• If an ATM or a point of sale terminal appears to have been tampered with, contact the bank immediately.

• Never provide anyone with your PIN, especially over the phone. Provide personal information only when you are sure you know who you are talking to and there is good reason to provide it.

• Treat your card like it is cash. Never lose sight of it. If possible, follow a waiter to the payment terminal in a restaurant. That may look silly and awkward but it’s essential to prevent a card from being cloned and misused.

• Shred old receipts and credit card bills. Be sure they are completely destroyed.

• Check card statements regularly. Always report unauthorized or suspicious transactions to your financial institution immediately.

• Several banks offer to send their customers alerts when money is withdrawn from their accounts, when unusual activity is suspected on their credit and debit cards, when new accounts are opened in their name or when there is other activity connected to their accounts.


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When Timmy's can make a blended pumpkin spice, chai, and vanilla creme frap the way Starbucks can, I'll be on the same boat.

Until then, I'll enjoy Timmy's breakfast sandwiches and Starbucks frap.

Oh, and I hate coffee. Haven't had the stuff in about 25 years.

The love/hate for products shows how effective marketing is in getting people to change the way they think and why they spend the big bucks, I've trolled games I play by asking in global chat "ps3 or xbox 360? which is better?".. it's amazing how rabid people get over products and companies that make them.

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There are those that say that electronic crimes now generate more income globally than the drug trade...

Anyway, Starbucks sucks outside of the U.S., it was in the U.S. market where they really built their reputation.

I will say that they deserve credit for making decent coffee by chain standards, are a relatively good employer, and for starting the "Coffee arms race" here in North America.

I wouldn't touch them locally though, and wouldn't bother with them even in the U.S. if it weren't for the free wifi.

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