Evanston Barnes & Noble one of 63 stores with tampered PIN pad


Mariam Gomaa/Daily Senior Staffer

An Evanston resident pays for his books at the local Barnes & Noble. Several stores in the bookstore franchise, including the Evanston location, were subject to a PIN pad hack that resulted in stolen customer information.

Manuel Rapada, Assistant City Editor

Evanston’s Barnes & Noble store is one of 63 locations found to have a tampered PIN pad, potentially compromising the credit and debit card information of customers.

Although the tampering occurred during the summer, Barnes & Noble notified the public about the “sophisticated criminal effort” Wednesday in a news release. All of the bookstore chain’s PIN pads had been disconnected by Sept. 14. Only one PIN pad was sabotaged in each of the 63 compromised locations.

Nearly two-thirds of these stores were located in California, Florida or New York. All in all, stores in nine states had hacked PIN pads. Barnes & Noble locations in Chicago were also affected, according to a list released by the company.

Barnes & Noble said it completed an internal investigation, inspecting PIN pads in every store. The company is also working with federal law enforcement officials on the incident.

Customers who swiped their credit or debit cards on a tampered pin pad may have exposed their personal information, including PIN numbers, to criminals.

Barnes & Noble advised consumers who used a card at any of the 63 named stores to check their statements and change debit card PIN numbers. The company is also working with banks and payment card issuers to identify accounts that have been compromised by the tampering, according to the release.

Weinberg junior Brian Earl, a former Barnes & Noble employee in Wisconsin, said he last visited the Evanston location in late September.

Upon hearing about the breach, Earl said he checked his bank statements online, where he found no suspicious activity.

Purchases on Barnes & Noble’s website or its NOOK tablets were not affected by the breach, according to the release.

None of the Barnes & Noble college bookstores, including the Norris bookstore, had a faulty PIN pad, according to the release. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc., operates 667 college bookstores nationwide.

Heather Connor, assistant store manager of the Norris Bookstore, said college bookstores generally “take a stronger approach” to customers’ financial information.

“We do everything in our power to make sure the students and parents and everybody that frequents our stores are safe,” Connor said of the bookstore’s preventative measures.

Customers can still use credit cards in Barnes & Noble stores via the cash registers, according to the release.