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Michaels shoppers could be victims of data breach

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- The nations largest arts and crafts retailer, Michaels, confirmed on Saturday that they are investigating a possible data breach at their stores.

The Texas-based retailer said in a statement that they may have suffered a "data security attack" on their system that processes payment cards.

Michaels is not releasing when or how many customers might have been affected by the breach.

However, the retailer is working with federal law enforcement to determine what happened.

Kathy Shipley shops at Michaels often and fears her information might have been compromised.

"It is very scary," Shipley said. "I went through the Target breach also, and I've been monitoring my account from them and now I'm going to have to start monitoring another credit card."

Octavio Corral, a web developer from El Paso, said the credit card hacking is happening within the Point-of-Sale systems at the stores.

"It literally means the hackers installed what's called a RAM scraper, so they installed something in the devices where you swipe your card," Corral said.

Although the information is encrypted, the RAM scrapers extract the information from the computer's live memory, where it briefly appears in plain text.

Corral said there are things you can do to protect yourself if your information were to be compromised.

"The only thing I would recommend is look at your statements and make sure there's not anything fishy going on," Corral said.

Corral also recommended getting alerts through email every time your credit card is used.

Some shoppers in El Paso tell KFOX 14 they are not too concerned about the possible breach.

"It's kind of dangerous but we're still using our credit cards," said Adriana Perez, a shopper from Chihuahua. "I check my statements regularly."

Other shoppers said they are thinking about ditching the credit cards altogether and turning to another form of payment.

"I've been thinking about maybe I should go back to writing checks, rather than using the credit card because you never know," Shipley said. "And it's been happening quite a bit lately. We need to be very careful with our money. We don't want any surprises."



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