Global Payments announced recently that a possible 1.5 million credit card numbers may have been stolen in a significant breach. According to Businessweek, the credit card companies with numbers stolen include giants Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. There have thus far been no known instances of consumer fraud as a result, but industry watchdogs urge customers to keep an eye on their accounts. Global Payments is a merchant acquirer, standing as the middle man between consumers that purchase products and the financial services companies that offer non-cash forms of payment.
LA Times reports that 535 known breaches occurred last year.
It is believed that only “Track 2” data was taken from the company, which covers only credit card numbers. “Track 1” data, which was apparently not stolen, covers a customer’s name, address, social security number, and some banking information. Many analysts say not much can be done with just credit card numbers. In response to the breach, credit card giant Visa has dropped the services of the merchant acquirer. Global Payments also provides a variety of services to multiple government agencies and businesses in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the LA Times, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego nonprofit that publishes known data breaches (as some breaches are unreported), reports that 535 known breaches occurred last year. Even more shockingly, the nonprofit has stated that more than 545 million financial records have been stolen in the United States since 2005. Recent high-profile breaches have included Citigroup, Brazilian bank Banco Bradesco, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the payment service PayPal, National Public Radio (NPR), the Israeli Stock Exchange, Google, and Sony's PlayStation Network.
Most banks have stressed that they have a zero-liability policy on unauthorized credit-card transactions, meaning that consumers are not held liable for purchases made by anyone other than the authorized credit card owner. Further, the federal Truth in Lending Act limits consumer liability on credit fraud to $50. If you believe that you may be affected by this massive breach, fill out the simple ‘Report a Complaint’ form on the right to receive a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your Global Payments breach claim to learn more about your legal rights.