TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Statement from Consumers Union About Huge Credit Card Theft

Statement from Consumers Union About Huge Credit Card Theft

Lisa Minter (
Sat, 18 Jun 2005 01:42:26 -0500

Consumers Union: MasterCard Security Breach Underscores How Lax Data
Security Puts Consumers at Risk of ID Theft

Contact: Susanna Montezemolo, 202-498-6746 (cell) or Michael McCauley,
415-431-6747, ext. 126, both for Consumers Union

WASHINGTON, June 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by
Susanna Montezemolo, policy analyst, Consumers Union's Financial
Privacy Now Campaign:

"MasterCard International's announcement today that more than 40
million credit cards of all brands potentially have been exposed to
fraud is a startling reminder of how vulnerable consumers are to
having their sensitive information stolen by crooks. While MasterCard
has indicated that Social Security numbers and birth dates were not
accessed in the incident from the 13.9 million MasterCard-brand cards
involved, there is no information yet available about the remaining
26.1 million other credit cards that were part of this massive data
security breach. If such sensitive information was accessed from the
other cards, then tens of millions of Americans may be at heightened
risk of identity theft."

"Regardless of what information was stolen, this incident should serve
as a wake-up call for lawmakers to give consumers stronger tools to
protect themselves, such as the right to put a security freeze on
credit files to prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in
their names. And lawmakers must enact new safeguards to hold companies
accountable for ensuring that strict data security practices are in
place and followed."

For more information on the identity theft safeguards advocated by
Consumers Union, see:


Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent,
nonprofit testing and information organization serving only the
consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about
products and services, personal finance, health nutrition, and other
consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products,
inform the public, and protect consumers.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I suggest _DEFINITLY_ begin watching
your credit/debit card statements very closely. I suggest you may
want to request copies of your credit bureau reports from at least
the three major bureaus. Many of the affected credit card companies
are now giving these away free, for the asking. _Do not hesitate_ to
question anything/everything of a degratory nature on those reports
that you do not recall. PAT]

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