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Credit Card Fraud Prevention

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South Burlington, Vermont - March 27, 2008

People who used credit or debit cards to pay for groceries at Hannaford supermarkets over the past few months are still being urged to monitor their monthly bank statements. Two weeks after Hannaford announced a major credit card theft -- thousands of stolen card numbers have been used for fraud.

Officials say the Secret Service is investigating one of the largest computer crimes -- the theft of millions of credit card numbers from Hannaford stores all over the northeast, and another company owned chain in Florida.

Shawn Carter of the New England Automated Clearing House, an organization that handles electronic transfers among banks, said of the larger problem, "It's not good, and they just seem to keep happening."

Carter addressed a group of clients of TD BankNorth. He said banks are victims, because they have to reimburse credit card customers for fraudulent transactions. Moreover, the banks are stuck with the cost of replacing compromised credit cards. But individuals are also victims.

"First, number one, you want to monitor your statements," he said, "because I don't know about you, but isn't it awfully hard to close an account, open a new one, get new checks, do all of that. So maybe monitoring at first is the right thing to do."

Out of 4.2 million compromised credit or debit cards used at Hannaford stores between December 7th and March 10th, officials say thousands of card numbers have been used.  

Greg Mitchell, regional security officer for TD BankNorth, said, "It is the fastest growing crime and it is very prevalent everywhere."

The BankNorth clients are learning what everyone should know. Do not use personal, confidential information -- like social security and bank numbers -- on the Internet or in email. And remember, banks never use email to ask customers for information that they already have.

"There's absolutely no financial institution that I know of that would ask your personal information on line or clicking on a link," Mitchell said. "If you get those messages, you should report them to your bank. You should not respond to that link as well, or the sender."

Financial institutions say they're working on ways to curtail credit card fraud. But individuals, too, should pay attention.

Andy Potter - WCAX News

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