CU CEO Testifying On Data Breaches Has First-Hand Account Of Theft

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Gene Foley, president of of Harvard University Employees CU and chairman of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, testified before the House Financial Services Committee last week on the frequency of major credit card data compromises, which he said is increasing at an alarming rate.

"While card issuers fastidiously comply with protecting sensitive account data, the resources they expend in this effort are squandered if merchants are not held to the same standard," Foley testified.

Foley said that in addition to an incident in which 700 card accounts at HUECU were compromised, he has also been a victim of identity theft when his checking account was emptied of $2,000 through purchases made 3,000 miles away.

Foley suggested that when a breach occurs, the major credit card companies should be required to notify financial institutions immediately in an electronic format that is usable for the effected issuer. That information should include, he said:

* When the breach occurred.

* Which merchant is responsible for that breach.

* Which accounts are affected.

* Detail what type of personal information was compromised.

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