WASHINGTON (9/26/14)--Fraudulent transactions are beginning to surface in the wake of the Home Depot data breach, which may have exposed as many as 56 million credit and debit cards nationwide to cybercriminals during a five-month period earlier this year (The Wall Street Journal Sept. 26).
Savings and checking accounts have been emptied in some cases, while criminals also have used the stolen information to purchase prepaid cards, electronics or even groceries, people familiar with the impact of the breach told The Journal.
Credit unions have been proactively replacing credit and debit cards that may have been compromised as a result of the data breach, but fraudsters are still slipping through the cracks.
VyStar CU, Jacksonville, Fla., with $5.1 billion in assets, announced this week that at least 100 of its card holders reported that their accounts were compromised.
The credit union, as many credit unions throughout the country have done, is asking members to check their accounts for fraudulent activity (Florida Times Union Sept. 24).
Members began approaching the credit union with claims over the weekend that there were several transactions on their accounts they didn't recognize, said Richard Alfirevic, VyStar president/CEO, who added that VyStar restored the members' funds, closed down the cards and have begun researching the point of compromise.
The Credit Union National Association has been out front on this issue for months, lobbying Congress to pass laws that would require merchants to strengthen their data security systems. CUNA leaders say merchants do not have to meet the same stringent requirements as those levied on financial institutions. (See related story: CUNA in trenches for CUs on data security)
Air Academy FCU, meanwhile, has stopped roughly $20,000 worth of fraudulent transaction on cards that were exposed during the Home Depot breach, according to The Wall Street Journal.
For a three-week period it was a big start, Brad Barnes, chief financial officer for the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based, $476 million-asset credit union, told The Journal, adding that the credit union has increased staffing in its fraud department.
Further, a Kalama, Wash., woman was recently contacted by her credit union via text asking her if she was currently buying groceries in San Francisco with her debit card.
Jessica McFarland, the credit union member who was at home in Kalama, quickly replied that she wasn't, and the credit union froze the card. But not before $300 had been spent to pay for the groceries, The Wall Street Journal reported.