Breach Closes More Accounts

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Dozens of credit unions on the East Coast were shutting down Visa debit card accounts and reissuing new ones last week after they were notified by the card company some of the accounts may be compromised.

Carolina Trust CU, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said it blocked and reissued 500 accounts, four of which had some fraudulent activity on them, after notification from Visa. "We thought we'd rather be safe than sorry, Angela Hackett, director of marketing, told The Credit Union Journal, of the card reissuance.

Suffolk CU in New York said it had cancelled about 1,700 Visa cards, according to Edward Boughal, president of the credit union, who said they have not identified any fraudulent activity. And Congressional FCU in Washington was notifying thousands of its cardholders of the possibility their accounts had been compromised. The credit unions said they were told by Visa that a national retailer had reported the possibility of a breach of its customer data and that all cardholders who had conducted transactions at that retailer were potential targets.

While any fraudulent transactions are generally reimbursed to the credit union by its insurer, reissuance of cards costs about $20 per card, which is paid by the credit union, according to Boughal.

The new East Coast card cancellations are believed related to those in the Sacramento, Calif., area where members at several credit unions, who had shopped at the suspect retailer, have reported fraudulent transactions on their accounts being conducted in Russia and elsewhere overseas. Credit unions in Texas and Florida have reported similar incidents in the past two weeks.

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