Apr 5, 2008

RedBox attacked by identity thieves

I like RedBox DVD rentals. For only $1 per night, you can rent a decent range of new releases. Better, you can preorder online, and go straight to pickup at the kiosk. You can return a RedBox rental to any vendor, and there are no late fees--just $1 per day, for however long you keep Barbie: Mariposa.

Sure, there are a couple downsides--the one-at-a-time service kiosk means that slow people clog the system, and they won't always have what you want--but as a Netflix gap-filler, RedBox is just about optimal.

So, I was sad to get this notice from RedBox in my email:
A few days ago redbox detected and removed an illegal credit card skimming device at one of our 7,400 locations. At the same time, redbox also discovered evidence of skimming attempts in two other locations. Skimming involves the placement of an illegal device above the credit/debit card reader on a vending machine, ATM, or in this case a redbox. These devices are used to illegally read or store personal credit card information....

Although there is no evidence currently that these skimming attempts were successful, consumer security is a top priority for redbox. Reviewing transaction records, there is a possibility that up to 150 customers may have been affected. Although only a small percentage of the millions of customers who use redbox each month, redbox has notified the major credit card companies so that they can monitor the situation. The redbox team is also working with local authorities to investigate the incidents and ensure your security.
The company has put the warning online, along with pictures of legitimate barcode scanners compared to skimming devices. It's not linked from their main page, though, which I think is bad form. Potential users, and not just current users, need to know about the very small risk a DVD vending machine presents.

Update: RedBox did the right thing and added a link to their homepage.


Anonymous said...

I really appreciate what Redbox did and informed their customers. Skimming is as old as card readers and seeing the pictures allows me to inspect the reader before I swipe my CC for my next rental. The risk of skimming exists with every public card reader. Redbox is making people aware of the risk and trying ot educate them. Not a bad thing at all.

Jim Anderson said...

I totally agree that they're doing well to educate their customers--but if someone isn't already signed up, they have no good way of knowing, since the warning isn't linked from RedBox's homepage. I hope they add a link, something like "Safety Tips"--standard ATM boilerplate.