Retailers Probed In Widening Debit CardFraud

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - (02/15/06) -- Authorities have apparently narrowedtheir focus on the broadening investigation into the theft ofthousands of debit card numbers and PINs from credit union and bankcustomers to two national retailers with operations in theCalifornia capital. The two retailers have been identified asOfficeMax and the Sam's Club unit of Wal-Mart Stores, sources toldThe Credit Union Journal Tuesday. A spokesman with OfficeMax saidthey do not believe their customer database had been compromisedbut the company was cooperating with the investigation. Wal-Martdid not respond to phone calls seeking comment. Representatives atseveral credit unions in the area said they have notified membersthat have transacted business at one of the two retailers thattheir accounts may have been compromised. Dozens of credit unionmembers have reported transactions on their accounts coming fromoverseas in places like Russia, Lithuiana, South Korea, Spain andEngland. Among the credit unions believed to have been impacted areThe Golden 1 CU, Education Employees CU, United Local CU, as wellas banking giants Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Washington Mutual,all of which have reported cancelling member cards over the pastfew months. As many as 200,000 debit card accounts have beenaffected by the fraud, according to law enfordementauthorities.

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