Breach affects 40M+ credit cards – Jun. 18, 2005

Breach affects 40M+ credit cards – Jun. 18, 2005

CNN.COM reported yesterday that Card Systems Solutions, which processes transactions for Visa and Mastercard was hacked into on May 22.. The hackers gained access to the credit card information for approximately 40 million customers. Approximately 13.9 million MasterCard holders and 22 million Visa holders were affected by this.

MasterCard has notified the financial institutions that hold the accounts for affected customers, and Visa is monitoring the transactions on their affected customers for suspicious activity. And, as always, you are protected against fraudalent activities on your card, through their zero-liability policies.

In light of this, should you stop using your credit cards online? No, I don’t think so. There’s no guarantee that the transactions the hackers monitored were online transactions. Even the purchase you make at your local grocery store or Burger King goes through a computer system somewhere. This is about the same as the old worry about the clerk keeping your carbon copy after you walked out the door. It shouldn’t stop you from using the credit cards, but it SHOULD make you more careful about how you use them.

Just because Visa and MasterCard are monitoring your account for suspicious activity, doesn’t mean you don’t have to. You should be checking your statements every month, to compare your list of purchases with theirs. And, you need to keep all of the receipts from your credit card transactions for at least three to six months. I’m saying three to six months, so you are guaranteed that it will show up on your statement while you still have the receipt. If the purchase is for commercial uses, you already have to keep the receipt longer for your taxes.

Below are a few more links from the CNN article about how to protect yourself from identity theft, and credit card fraud. And, with that, I’m off to newegg.com to buy the latest computer gadgets that I don’t need.;)

Patrick.

The related links in the CNN article are….

Fund Clients vulnerable to ID theft?
ID theft: The Real Risk
Damage Control for Identity Theft
Choice Point: More ID Theft warnings

****UPDATE******

In a related story http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/19/credit.breach.ap/index.html MasterCard announced that only approximately 68,000 cardholders are considered a high risk. And, also that they have checks and balances set up to monitor and detect fraudalent activities. That was how they became aware of the situation.

Visa, Discover, and MBNA declined to give specifics about their cardholders. American Express did say that a few of their cardholders were affected, but didn’t disclose how many.

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