Millions of businesses both large and small are now at significantly greater risk for massive data breaches that can expose large numbers of consumers to the threat of identity theft, and this threat recently became all too real for a resort in Georgia.
Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, recently discovered that it had been hit by a data breach in its credit card security system that began in September 2012 and was not detected until last week, according to a report from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. An initial assessment of what led to the breach found that it was caused by malicious software. The resort says that it has contained and removed the program already, and is now beginning a more in-depth investigation into the incident by both the company and law enforcement officials.
For now, resort officials are urging customers who visited during the time it was affected to keep a close eye on all their financial statements, including their credit card bills, to see if any fraudulent transactions were made using their information, the report said. It has already begun notifying guests it believes may have been affected by the breach via email of the risk they now face, as well as postings made via Facebook and Twitter. It also alerted four of the nation’s top credit card issuers — Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover — as well as the three major credit reporting bureaus about the issue.
For its part, Callaway Gardens says it was using the best practices available to it when it comes to computer security technology, the report said. It has also brought aboard some computer forensics experts to recommend additional security measures it could undertake to better protect itself moving forward.
Consumers who receive this type of notification may want to order copies of their credit reports to make sure none of their personal information has been used to open any fraudulent lines of credit without their knowledge. If any of signs of fraud are spotted, the victim should immediately contact the credit bureau that issued the report as a means of getting it resolved more quickly before additional damage can be done. This is also true of credit card charges and transactions involving their bank accounts, for similar reasons.