"Major Retailer's" Data Breach Results In Wave Of Credit Card Fraud?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a recently reported data breach by an undisclosed “major retailer” has resulted in a jump in consumers having their debit cards forcibly reissued, or calls from their bank to verify their recent purchase history. The problems seem to have started just around Christmas time and have continued into mid-January.

The thefts cut across all types of credit cards, but one of the common threads is that the cards are being used to purchase physical products in-store. This is a contrast to the big credit card reissue last year when stolen debit cards were being used to make fraudulent ATM withdrawals. Which retailer? Who’s behind it? Nobody knows and we won’t find out for some time, not until the cops catch the robbers. Until then, here’s all the people on our site talking about the recent seeming surge of fraudulent activity..

A Washington Post reporter recently had her debit card number stolen and used to buy hundreds of dollars of running shoes.

Sprint has been debiting chunks of $300 from Andrew’s Bank of America debit card account, a card that he has never even used at a store.

ROBDEW2: “I had a very similar thing happen to my BofA account two weeks ago. It still continued AFTER the card was canceled. I left BofA because of this. It was the first time I ever felt my money was not safe in the hands of a bank. “

CONNETICUTMRS: “nteresting, this just happened to me as well. Except with another bank (People’s) and there was a Sprint Charge (Reston, VA which I think is where their bills go), Direct TV and Cablevision. All services that I don’t use. They are currently investigating but I did get a provisional credit. I find it totally baffling how this can happen while I have my card in my possession. I hope to hear more comments on this, especially since I’m experiencing it now. “

DIESEL1: “This is scary, the same thing actually happened to me on 1/10/08. Bank of America alerted me that someone swiped a physical card to make purchases in states I’ve never been to with my BOFA check card. What scares me the most is that I live ten miles from Reston Virginia. I think something is amiss at Bank of America and they arent telling everyone the full story.”

ED: “Over Christmas break I was back home with my parents. They asked me to buy them an ink cartridge while I was out, so I picked one up at Office Depot with my BoA credit card (I almost never use my debit card anymore thanks to the information you guys have spread about customer protection with credit cards). Four days later, BoA calls about some suspicious charges in two NJ Office Depots (not the one I visited). Obviously the charges weren’t me, but the BoA lady told me that the card was physically swiped for the fraudulent charges. When I read that fact in your post, I thought that maybe something bigger is happening; scammer creating fake cards or something? I don’t know, but I thought I’d let you know.”

Amanda reports that a ton of people on her neighborhood message board say they’ve had their cards replaced recently, including her family. “Citibank contacted my husband and told him that they would be re-issuing him a new account number because a “major merchant” had notified authorities that its secure data had been compromised. They would not release the name of the merchant, instead saying that it was “the kind of thing we would probably hear about in the news,” she writes. Then her own American Express card was used in Flordia and the same thing happened to a neighbor down the hall.

ECWIS: “This happened to my Chase Freedom card just a week or two ago. They said someone attempted to use it at Macy’s and Bed Bath and Beyond for around $1,000 worth of charges. The weird thing was that I rarely use the card and I still had it in my possession…”

VMXEO: “I don’t have a Chase card, however, my Citibank debit card was hit with several fraudulent charges several weeks ago. Many of my friends and co-workers (I lost count after 20) have also had their Citibak and Chase debit cards and credit cards all compromised within the last several months. The charges seem to come and go in waves, the first round being used to purchase items at drug stores in Texas, and the recent round was gas in Kissamee Florida. The fraud rep from my bank inferred there was a breach at a credit processor somewhere, but I couldn’t get any more details than that. The day I went to pick up my replacement card from the bank, there was a whole stack of overnighted envelopes with replacement cards waiting at the desk. (and it was the last working day before christmas, of course). I’m still waiting to get my money back from the bank :(“

MRBILL: “My Chase Visa got compromised a month or two ago; someone bought $250 worth of gas in Louisiana and then tried to use it at a Wal-Mart next door to the gas station.”

SCHWARTZ: “Same thing happened to both myself and my sister (I live in Louisiana, she lives in Georgia) with our debit cards on Monday. Talked to a few other people with Chase and about half of them have had the same thing happen.”

JDH2000: “I have an Amazon.com Visa through Chase and got a call today (1/2/08). I didn’t really pay attention to the number they left on my answering machine. Instead, I called the number on the back of the card and was automatically transferred to their fraud prevention dept. I verified three recent charges, all of which were legit, and all of which were less than $50 each. They basically said, “thanks” and that was it.

very strange . . . .”

FELIXGOLDEN: “Just got a call from Chase within the last hour – same situation. They verified the last few transactions, though nothing was out of the ordinary. The rep told me that even though there were no fraudulent transactions, they had information that my card number was compromised and were canceling it and issuing a new one.

Someone big must have had a security breakdown. “

HERSELF_NYC: “I’m going through the same thing.
Chase canceled my card right before Xmas and sent me a new one, and then called me two days later to verify charges, and then called me again today. In fact, I sit on hold with them as I type this.

SOMETHING odd is going on.”

YOUBASTID: “I’m not sure which I have – it used to be a “double platinum” but when that one expired they sent me one that was just branded “Chase.” I did get a call from the fraud dept last week, but I’m assuming it’s because I hadn’t used the card in a while and all of a sudden charged about 500 bucks to it.”

(Photo: Getty)