Attorney General examines credit card hack impact on Vermonters

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(Host) Officials are trying to determine how many Vermonters are affected by a recent security breach that exposed millions of credit card numbers to hackers.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports:

(Zind) Few people had heard of Card Systems Solutions, Incorporated until it was announced that hackers had gained access to thirty million credit card numbers in the firm’s computers. The company processes transactions for credit card companies and retailers. Since the breach was announced the Attorney General’s office has been trying to learn how many Vermonters have had their credit card numbers compromised.

Assistant Attorney General Julie Brill says while thirty million numbers were at risk of being stolen, a fraction of that number, two hundred thousand, are known to have been pilfered. Brill says while identity theft is often a concern when these breaches occur, in this case, the information available to thieves was limited to names and credit card numbers.

(Brill) “We don’t believe that the thieves will be able to take this information and build a profile and basically create an alternate version of the consumer. That’s the typical scenario with respect to identity theft.”

The real risk from the Card Systems Solutions breach is credit card fraud. Brill says Vermonters should check their credit card statements carefully. By law consumers who promptly notify their credit card company of unauthorized purchases receive credit back – although in some cases, they may be responsible for the first fifty dollars of a fraudulent purchase.

Brill says the state is considering legal action against Card Systems Solutions.

(Brill) “Given what we know now, we believe that there are several Vermont laws, the Consumer Protection Law and some others, as well as federal laws that appear to be implicated by the actions of the company.”

(Zind) In recent months two other companies, Choicepoint and Lexis-Nexis, also had breaches which exposed the personal data of hundreds of thousands of consumers to online thieves.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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