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Banks Reissue Credit Cards, Post TJX Breach

There are several cases of stolen credit and debit card data from computer networks of retailer TJX, owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls to make fraudulent purchases. These instances have surfaced in far away places as Hong Kong and Sweden, said Massachusetts Bankers Association on January 24, 2007.

Approximately, 60 banks reported that they had received intimation from credit and debit card companies saying their customers' cards were compromised, according to the association. Only a small number of the association's 205 banks have reported the issue implying that more frauds are likely to happen.

Association spokesman Bruce Spitzer said they were expecting the fraud to widen. These reports are just the first ones they have confirmed.

On January 17, 2007, TJX based in Framingham disclosed hackers' theft of financial and other personal data of their customers from its computers. The security breach disturbed transactions at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, A.J. Wright, HomeGoods and may be Bob's Stores in the U.S., and perhaps also of other stores in Europe and Canada. TJX specializes in discounted sales of home fashions and apparels.

Meanwhile, banks are reissuing credit cards as a result of the massive theft of credit card and debit card numbers of millions of consumers and also to protect their customers' accounts. Middlesex Savings Bank faced about a dozen cases of fraudulent transactions in as distant as California and Japan. The bank officials said their institution is reissuing at least 20,000 Visa debit cards. The bank charges a minimum of $5 to replace a single card and many of the fraudulent activities were taking place at discounters, gas stations, grocery stores and Internet merchants.

Bank of America is also reissuing credit cards to affected customers. The Charlotte-based bank would neither disclose the number of cards it is reissuing nor would it pin point the states where fraudulent account activities emerged. But, the bank said it did "identity some" fraudulent transactions and had started issuing new cards to those customers.

The computer breach at TJX was detected in mid-December but was not announced until January 17, 2007 to keep law enforcement officials' request while the investigation was on.

Related article: Bank Issues Spam Alerts

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