Friday, January 19, 2007

Damned Credit Card Hackers!

Oy, what a day it was at work today, with the news announcement about the millions of credit card accounts may have been compromised after hackers stole info from the computer systems of TJX Cos. TJX Cos owns about a couple thousand stores all over the USA, Canada and Europe. Their stores operate under the names:

  • Canada -- Winners, or HomeSense
  • USA -- T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, A.J. Wright stores, or BobĂ‚’s Stores
  • Europe --T.K. Maxx

A spokesperson for TJX Cos. said the stolen information covers transactions between 2003 and part of 2006. Wow! That's three years! I don't honestly remember if I ever used a credit card at any of those stores two or three years ago!

But, rather than panic when news like this comes out, the best thing to do is to regularly check your monthly credit card statements, item, by item. I work in a bank, and it absolutely amazes me of the amount of people that don't even know their purchases are itemized on the back of the statement! Obviously they don't check to make sure all charges belong to them.

Remember this very important thing... you are covered by Visa and Mastercard for credit card fraud. If you notice anything on your statement at any time that is not your charge, then immediately call the 1-800 number listed on your statement. I've had this happen to me once several years back. I came back from my vacation, and noticed on my next Visa statement that someone was still using my card at some sleazy bar out in Vancouver after I was already back home. At the time I did panic, as I thought I had perhaps lost my card out there and hadn't even noticed it was missing. But when I checked my wallet it was there. So that means some un-trusting employee at a place I used my card, or some hacker got in to one of those establishment's files and I was one of the unlucky patrons that became the victim of credit card fraud. Visa requested copies of those transactions from the business, which copies were forwarded to me, along with an affidavit I had to sign stating they were not my charges. Once Visa received my signedaffidavitd, they credited my account back for those charges, plus any interest that was incurred over that period of time. The thing that takes the time with this process, is the vendors have a certain time period in which to comply with the request for those transaction receipts. Now I can't quite recall what that time period was, but I'm thinking it was 60 days. Just don't quote me on that one.

Here are a few articles on the news release, if you haven't yet heard it:

CBC News, Toronto Star, Boston Herald, PC World

So remember, check those credit card statements thoroughly, all the time!


No comments: