Identity Theft

Recent Data Breach Raises Credit Card Security Concerns

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Late last month, a major processor of debit and credit card payments suffered a data breach that exposed the account data for more than 1.5 million cards. Now, experts wonder if more can be done at the federal level to better protect consumers’ sensitive financial details.

Data breaches that exposed private account information, and even personal data on consumers, have hit major payment processors in the past, and though 1.5 million sounds like a lot of victims, it was relatively considered relatively small within the industry, according to a report from the Daily Beast. However, it has nonetheless prompted concern among consumers and experts alike that the federal government might not be doing enough to ensure that companies in the payment processing industry are doing enough to ensure that both various types of card transactions are being properly protected.

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Experts also caution that though information on 1.5 million accounts was exposed during the breach, the actual number of transactions whose details might have been accessible is likely considerably higher, the report said. In fact, some say that the 1.5 million figure might even be on the lower end of the number of accounts that might actually have been affected.

“[The breach] brings into question the very security of the credit- and debit-card industry and whether or not it’s safe to use such payment cards,” Beth Givens, director of the nonprofit data breach tracking agency the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, told the news site.

Some have also said that they do not believe Global Payments did enough to begin notifying affected consumers and business partners like Visa and MasterCard as early as it could have, the report said. This, too, would ultimately fall under the purview of federal regulators, meaning that more stringent rules may need to be introduced.

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There has been an increasing movement at the federal level to introduce more protections for consumers’ credit card accounts, as well as to alert borrowers more expediently when their personal or financial information is exposed in a data breach. The most recent statistics show that data breaches affect millions of consumers every year, and while there are numerous laws at the state level for how notifications have to be issued to those exposed in such an incident, there is no overarching federal rule.

Image: Tawheed Manzoor, via Flickr.com

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