Data Lost on 650,000 Consumers...J.C. Penney, Other Retail Customers

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Exactly one year since news spread about T.J. Maxx's massive data breach (See Prior Blog)comes word that a computer tape containing information on 650,000 customers of J.C. Penney and up to 100 retailers is missing.

The tape, discovered missing in October, includes the Social Security numbers of about 150,000 people. GE Money, which handles credit-card operations for J.C. Penney, has been notifying consumers and referring them to a call center set up to deal with the breach.

GE has not identified the other retailers whose customers' information is missing, but spokesman Richard C. Jones said "it includes many of the large retail organizations."


The Consumerist "Major Retailer's" Data Breach Results In Wave Of Credit Card Fraud?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a recently reported data breach by an undisclosed "major retailer" has resulted in a jump in consumers having their debit cards forcibly reissued, or calls from their bank to verify their recent purchase history. The problems seem to have started just around Christmas time and have continued into mid-January.

The thefts cut across all types of credit cards, but one of the common threads is that the cards are being used to purchase physical products in-store. This is a contrast to the big credit card reissue last year when stolen debit cards were being used to make fraudulent ATM withdrawals. Which retailer? Who's behind it? Nobody knows and we won't find out for some time, not until the cops catch the robbers. Until then, here's all the people on our site talking about the recent seeming surge of fraudulent activity..

A Washington Post reporter recently had her debit card number stolen and used to buy hundreds of dollars of running shoes.

Sprint has been debiting chunks of $300 from Andrew's Bank of America debit card account, a card that he has never even used at a store. See MORE

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands whose identities could be at risk -I urge you to place fraud alerts on your credit reports. You can do so on your own -or find a company that will do it for you!! Yes, it is true that consumers can place their own fraud alerts on their credit reports. They can contact Chex systems too, and even opt out of pre-approved offers of credit to stop the bombardment of targeted mass marketing. Consumers can also mark their calendars to remind themselves to update their fraud alerts every 90 days or so. We can do this, but I don't want to anymore - I quit! There are many services out there that you will be happy you have -if your information ends up in the wrong hands. I turned to LifeLock. Here's why...

Though many may feel that paying ten dollars a month (or a hundred dollars a year) is too much money for something you can do yourself, I view it differently. After fighting for 15 years to keep my accurate credit identity, and always coming up short, I prefer to let someone else handle that responsibility. In my view, preventing fraud and restoring my identity the same as one of the many everyday jobs that I don't want to do myself and would prefer paying someone else to do. I no longer want to worry about cleaning up from the mess a data breach or fraud can bring into my life at any given moment. Whether my wallet is stolen or my information is breached -the task of cancelling credit cards, placing fraud alerts, restoring my identity and preventing a loss -is now someone elses responsibility. The continued and growing threats of daily data breaches should be a strong motive for anyone to consider taking preventative steps now -to lessen the degree of loss suffered -through no fault of your own!

I can't stress enough...especially, if you believe your information may have been involved in any one of the recent data breaches -take action now -before it's too late. You can sign up for LifeLock for as little as $8.00 a month or $88.00 a year by using the promotional code: denise

There are many other services out there -just make certain you know what type of services they provide. Credit monitoring alone -does little to prevent fraud. Some services for hire do not reimburse you for losses, nor do they restore or "fix" the problem for you. It's important to know exactly what they each service offers in both preventative and restorative services. This is not intended as a commercial for LifeLock -rather, it is a company that I personally use -and can therefore feel comfortable recommending. Feel free to email me or check out prior blogs and archive for additional information and tips on how to protect yourself, your employees, your clients and family.

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