Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown Safeway Shopper Stops Card Skimmer Scam

John Perry Miller / X | A rise in card scamming in DC may put Georgetown community members at risk, as a customer found a card skimmer at the Wisconsin avenue Safeway.

A Washington, D.C., resident discovered a credit card skimmer at the Georgetown neighborhood Safeway April 10, one of five such scams discovered in the District in recent weeks.

The apparent uptick in card skimmer scams, which see thieves attach small devices to credit and debit card readers to steal the cards’ information, has raised concerns among D.C. residents about measures taken to ensure consumer safety. According to a police report, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) identified multiple suspects and are currently seeking more information.

John Perry-Miller, a Northwest D.C. resident of nearly seven years, became suspicious of a Safeway kiosk’s card reader when checking out his groceries at the grocery chain’s Wisconsin Avenue location.

“I get to the kiosk and I scan my items and I notice that, on the credit card machine, the screen and the frame were pretty well used, but the keypad was brand new,” Perry-Miller told The Hoya. “I thought that was very strange, and I had an inkling that it might be a skimmer.”

Skimmers can collect and store the information of any card used at the machine, which its installers can later retrieve. These scams are estimated to cost financial institutions like banks, corporations and consumers upwards of $1 billion annually.

Suspicious of the device, Perry-Miller said he told a Safeway employee that it was a skimmer, but that the employee was dismissive — until the two worked together to pull the device off the kiosk. 

“I went back into my car and I was sort of in shock,” Perry-Miller said. “If I had put in my debit card, they would’ve had all my banking information before I got my groceries back to my car.”

Afterward, Perry-Miller posted about the experience on X, formerly Twitter, and quickly gained traction as other District residents voiced concerns about similar experiences. Perry-Miller said he was dissatisfied with Safeway’s response, as the company only reached out to him after he discussed the skimmer with NBC.

“NBC had reached out to Safeway and had gotten a response before I did, which is horrible PR by the way,” Perry-Miller said. “An hour after my interview with NBC, I got a message from Safeway and it was the same generic, copy-and-paste response they had sent to NBC. I was pretty offended.”

John Perry Miller / X | A rise in card scamming in DC may put Georgetown community members at risk, as a customer found a card skimmer at the Wisconsin avenue Safeway.

Safeway assured NBC and Perry-Miller that they would work with MPD to address the skimmer and take precautions to avoid such theft going forward. 

“Safeway takes these issues seriously and is investigating this matter, in coordination with law enforcement, to ensure appropriate action has been taken,” Safeway wrote in a statement to NBC. “In addition, we have implemented additional controls and associate training to help prevent this type of activity in the future.”

Ruby Gilmore (SFS ’26), a Georgetown University student who frequently shops at Safeway, said she is troubled by the news of the skimmer at the Georgetown location.

“It is a bit concerning, and I’d definitely be sure to be more conscientious about what I’m doing when I check out,” Gilmore told The Hoya. “The possibility of it happening to me is definitely worrying.”

Such concerns were further heightened after MPD found yet another skimmer in a Northwest D.C. 7-Eleven April 16. 

Gilmore added that she thinks Georgetown students should be especially alert when shopping, as the increased popularity of digital payment may shift consumer focus away from traditional scamming methods.

“Georgetown students specifically should just be aware since so many of us who have to buy groceries have to do so at Safeway,” Gilmore said. “I don’t think that we as young people are often cognizant of these kinds of scams since they’re not as common with the increase in contact-free payment methods.”

MPD similarly encouraged vigilance among District residents, releasing images of two suspects they believe to be involved in the recent scams. 

Aaron Chan (MSB, SFS ’26), another Georgetown student and Safeway shopper, said he was unaware of the recent scams around D.C. or card skimmers in general.

“I have barely any knowledge of card skimmer scams,” Chan told The Hoya. “This is maybe my second or third time hearing a mention of them. I’ve never looked into them with any detail.”

Perry-Miller said the recent scams should serve as a warning for all D.C. residents, especially those not used to living in metropolitan areas.

“I think it’s important for those who might not be familiar with these scams and things,” Perry-Miller said. “You have to be vigilant living in a big city. You can’t care if you look stupid, because if it means I’m not getting my bank information stolen, I’m okay with that.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *