[ISN] HSBC acts on card snafu
isn at c4i.org
Thu Apr 14 08:56:15 EDT 2005
By: Caleb Silver
CNN Business News
April 13, 2005
NEW YORK (CNN) - As many as 187,000 GM MasterCard customers may have
potentially had their personal information exposed, officials with
card issuer HSBC Holdings said Wednesday.
About 6 million HSBC (Research) customers hold GM-branded MasterCards,
according to the automaker, and letters have been sent so far to 1,200
telling them their information may have been open to compromise when
they shopped with an undisclosed retailer.
There is no evidence any card accounts have actually been compromised,
said a spokesman for HSBC. In the interest of "better safe than
sorry," HSBC is proactively warning its customers, he said. The
remaining 185,800 cardholders affected will be notified between now
and mid-May, according to HSBC.
HSBC insisted the bank is not to blame for the security breach. "This
is not an issue with our card," said Tom Nicholson, a spokesman for
HSBC. "It's an issue with the retailer."
HSBC said it was notified by MasterCard's Fraud Management Department
in March about the breach, but was not provided with details on the
GM MasterCard, in a letter to customers, said it did not know the
merchant involved and urged customers to replace their credit cards as
soon as possible "due to the serious nature of this situation," the
Boston Globe reported.
The security breach is the latest example of private financial
information being improperly accessed in recent weeks by companies
that compile an sell personal information about millions of Americans.
Lexis-Nexis said Tuesday that data on 310,000 people nationwide may
have been stolen -- 10 times its estimate of just a month earlier.
Household Bank, acquired by HSBC in 2002, began issuing the GM
MasterCard Rewards card in 1992.
Customers earn points towards the purchase or lease of GM vehicles,
and GM says more than 4 million GM cars have been bought or leased by
Rewards customers since the card was launched.
For more on what you can do to protect yourself from the problems of
identity theft, click here .
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