Tuesday, March 18

BIG VISA security breach~Hannaford Brothers

Here we go, again! Do you remember the TJ Maxx data security breach? This new compromise isn't yet as big, but could be!

News just started to filter out to financial institutions on Friday that VISA branded cards and their card holders were compromised. Because of the agreements that VISA has with their merchants, not much more was said. They only explained that a merchant discovered a problem.

Now, a few days later, it is official. The breach happened at Hannaford Brothers grocery stores. Thus far, 4.2 million cards have been compromised and 1800 cases of fraud have been reported.

Hannaford reports that no identifying personal information was exposed, only VISA card and PIN numbers.

So, if you used your VISA debit card in a Hannaford grocery store in the Northeast, or a Sweetbay store in Florida, or in an independent grocery store selling Hannaford branded products, you should immediately contact your financial institution.

Yesterday, the VISA networks put out a formal alert to all financial institutions explaining the compromise. This alert directs the financial institutions to block the affected cards and re-issue replacements.

Apparently this breach was discovered on Feb. 27, 2008, and shut down on March 10th. According to reports, the data breach started on Dec 7, 2007.

Your financial institution has received a list of all their customers with accounts that were compromised. If you discover unauthorized transactions on your card, immediately contact your financial institution. Keep records of everything just in case you need to follow up; copies of statements, name of the person that you spoke with and the time of day, dollar amounts, dates, etc.. You have protection under the banking laws just in case you are a victim of fraud.

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