The Sydney Morning Herald
January 25, 2007
Customer data stolen from TJX Cos. by computer hackers has been used to
make fraudulent debit card and credit card purchases in the United
States and overseas, the Massachusetts Bankers Association said
The fraudulent purchases have been made in Florida, Georgia, and
Louisiana, and overseas in Hong Kong and Sweden, the association said.
Nearly 60 banks have reported they've been contacted by credit and debit
card companies about compromised cards, the association said. The number
is likely to grow because fewer than half of the association's 205 banks
have reported to it on the issue.
"We expect that this is going to continue and the fraud may widen," said
association spokesman Bruce Spitzer. "This is just the first reports we
The state association's report of fraud is among the first in the
country since TJX disclosed the breach last week. On Tuesday, the
Vermont Bankers' Association said a bank it refused to name had been
told by TJX that more than 1,600 of the bank's customers had their
account numbers compromised.
Framingham-based TJX _ operator of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls discount
stores, as well as HomeGoods and A.J. Wright in the U.S., Winners and
HomeSense in Canada, and T.K. Maxx in Britain _ did not immediately
return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
Last week, TJX said hackers had broken into a system that handles credit
and debit card transactions, as well as checks and merchandise returns
for customers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and may involve customer
accounts from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The company said the stolen customer data included information from 2003
transactions, as well as information from mid-May 2006 through December,
when the company discovered the breach. TJX has refused to say how many
customers had their data stolen or accessed.
Avivah Litan, a data security analyst for Garter Inc., said it may be
difficult for the company to determine the scope of the breach because
the thieves had a lot of time to sell and circulate the information
before the hack was discovered.
"They can't put a wall around it," she said. "That's what so
disconcerting about it."
Credit card companies have noted that consumers are not responsible for
fraudulent purchases. Spitzer said state banks are notifying customers
about fraudulent purchases and reissuing cards in some cases.
Spitzer said it's too early to know the number of fraudulent purchases,
or their costs. But he said the cost to banks of reissuing hundreds of
thousands of cards alone will be "enormous."
Copyright 2006 AP DIGITAL
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