Hackers play havoc with big retailers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hackers play havoc with big retailers

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January 23, 2007

Albany - Debit cards are quickly replacing cash for many of us. And many of those cards are quickly being replaced.

Hackers stole financial information from millions of TJMaxx and Marshall's customers, so one South Georgia bank is making sure its customers are protected.  

Stores from across the US into the UK may have been affected by the security breach. Millions of customers information possibly stolen from the system. Heritage bank of the South spokeswoman Carol Slappey says, "It was pretty shocking." Shocking that with just one swipe of a card, your bank account can be wiped out.

Slappey says, "This is not just a Visa issue, this is MasterCard, American Express, Discover. Many of the major cards were possible compromised."

Dollie Roberts says she shops at TJ Maxx at least once a week. She doesn't like the possibility of her information getting out.  She says, "I need to go back and check. Make sure it's only charged once."

It's important to note that there have not been any documented cases of stolen information resulting from the Albany store, but Visa did contact Heritage Bank of the South last week to let them know that some of the bank's customers, with Visa issued debit cards, may have been affected.

Bank President Carol Slappey says they immediately took action.  She says, "We have fraud software that's monitoring, as well as Visa's monitoring the activity with fraud software, so I think the customers are well covered."

Plus, Heritage sent out letters informing those customers they will reissue debit cards and personal identification numbers. And they're prepared to go a step further to protect you if necessary. "If they (customers) chose to," says Slappey, "they can call the bank and we will immediately block the card."

TJX is working to strengthen the security of their computer systems in order to prevent something similar from happening again and want you to feel safe shopping in their stores. Dollie Roberts says she still does. 

Roberts says, "What I look for, I can usually find here and a whole lot of other things too. I usually come out with more than I come in for." Though she does hope that anything she leaves here, like her card information, will stay safely tucked away.

TJ Maxx explains the security breach on their website and lists what customers should do to make sure their personal information is safe.

comments: news@walb.com?subject=RetailSecuirtyBreach