Congress Wants Name Of Source Of DebitCard Leak

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - (02/16/06) – U.S. and internationalauthorities are working closely with private entities to track downwhat they believe is an international ring that has tapped intocredit union and bank accounts by using information stolen fromarea retailers. At the same time, Congress is urging Visa andMastercard to disclose the name of the two national retailersauthorities believe are the source of the data leak that exposedthe debit card numbers. In a letter to the heads of both cardscompanies, Re. Barney Frank, the leading Democrat on the HouseFinancial Services Committee, called on the companies Thursday toidentify the two retailers, or be held responsible themselves forthe latest breach of cards data. Otherwise, the MassachusettsDemocrat said, Congress may consider legislation forcing suchdisclosures on the source of data leaks. Law enforcement agenciesare sifting through Visa and Mastercard transaction records fordozens of credit unions and banks to help them track transactionsto their foreign destinations, traced to Russia, South Korea andEngland, according to one law enforcement official involved in theprobe. Many of the affected financial institutions have beennotified by Fair Isaac & Co., which has identified theunauthorized transactions with its Card Alert Fraud Manager. Thesystem identifies unusual patterns of transactions then clustersthem to flag expected incidents of unauthorized transactions. Butauthorities have not been able to identify the final destinationfor the fraudulent transactions so far. The fraud has forcedseveral area credit unions, including Educational Employees CU, TheGolden 1 CU and United Postal CU, as well as banking giants Bank ofAmerica, Wells Fargo and Washington mutual, to block accounts andreissue new debit cards over the past few months. As many as200,000 accounts may have been affected, according toauthorities.

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