Visa and MasterCard Alert Banks of Major Security Breach
March 30th, 2012
Visa and MasterCard alert banks of major security breach by card processor.
Visa and MasterCard are reporting a security breach by a third-party U.S. based card processor. Estimates of the number of cardholders affected vary widely, but both Visa and MasterCard are alerting their card-issuing bank customers. Other sources said they are “seeing signs of the breach mushroom.”
MasterCard said a forensic review is being conducted by an “independent data security organization.” Sources said the U.S. Secret Service is also investigating. Reports say the data contains information that could be used to create counterfeit cards.
Neither Visa nor MasterCard revealed the name of the card processing company, but The Wall Street Journal is reporting the breach occurred at Atlanta-based Global Payments Inc. between Jan. 21 and Jan. 25. Global Payments processes credit and debit cards.
Visa has more than 648 million U.S. credit, debit and prepaid cards and MasterCard has more than 308 million. Banks say they will notify cardholders and reissue their cards if their information has been compromised.
LifeLock recommends taking the following actions if you are notified that your information has been exposed:
- Do not provide sensitive information in response to emails from your bank. Even if an email looks legitimate, do not provide sensitive information such as your credit card security code (the three digits on the back), or Social Security number to anyone claiming to be from your bank, Visa or MasterCard. If you are asked to provide sensitive information, call your bank to verify authenticity.
- Change your password. To be on the safe side, change your online bank account password.
- Check your credit card statement daily. Review your online statements for any Visa or MasterCards you have. If you notice suspicious activity, notify your bank immediately.