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April 02, 2012

Yet another data breach putting millions of consumers at risk

Global Payments is a company that processes credit card transactions.  It announced late Friday (conveniently near the close of business right before the weekend) that a data breach may have allowed unauthorized access to 1.5 million credit card numbers.  Global Payments would not say what types of credit cards were potentiall affected, but Visa confirmed that the data breach included all of the major players (i.e. Visa, Mastercard, Discover, etc.).

Global Payments also released a statement on Sunday with more details.  Most importantly, according to Global Payments' statement, the data breach did not include cardholders' names, addresses or Social Security numbers.   That should lessen considerably the risk of true name identity theft, but the risk of account take over via the compromised credit card numbers is still present.

SO what should the consumer do?  Same as always - watch your credit card statements for any transactions that you did not make.  If you find one, report it as fraud.  The credit card company should eat the charge and issue you a new card with a new card number.  Considering 1.5 million is only a very small percentage of the estimated one billion credit and debit card numbers being used in the U.S., the chances that this data breach will affect you is slim.

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