Another day, another data breach. This time, hackers have targeted Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.
On April 1, The Wall Street Journal reported that the two retailers had been hacked and that the hackers had obtained millions of credit and debit card numbers. The hackers can sell those numbers to other criminals online, putting cardholders’ information at risk.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest credit card data breach and how you can protect yourself from credit card fraud.
How did the data breach happen?
According to Gemini Advisory LLC, a New York-based cybersecurity firm, a hacking syndicate announced in March that it was selling more than 5 million stolen credit and debit cards. The attack, which took place between May 2017 and the present, is one of the largest to ever impact retail companies.
The hackers seem to have implanted software into cash register systems without the retailers’ knowledge, according to The New York Times. The software saved credit and debit card information and relayed it back to the criminals.
Gemini Advisory used its analytical tools to determine that certain Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th, and Lord & Taylor stores in North America were the victims of the attack. However, the majority of stolen information came from stores in New York and New Jersey.
Currently, 125,000 cards are available for sale, but Gemini Advisory expects millions more will be released in the following months.
Hudson’s Bay Co., the parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, confirmed the data breach. “We have identified the issue and have taken steps to contain it,” the company said in a statement on the Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor websites.
How to find out if you’re affected
Right now, the companies don’t know whose data was affected, but they don’t believe Social Security numbers or driver’s license numbers were stolen.
“Once we have more clarity around the facts, we will notify our customers quickly and will offer those impacted free identity protection services, including credit and web monitoring,” the statement said. “We encourage our customers to review their account statements and contact their card issuers immediately if they identify activity or transactions they do not recognize.”
As soon as they have more information, the companies will update their websites. Starting April 4, you can call 1-855-270-9187 to speak with a dedicated call center representative.
How to protect your credit
The retailers will provide free identity protection services to customers. However, it’s important to take action right away to protect your private information.
1. Contact your credit card company
If you shop at Saks Fifth Avenue or Lord & Taylor, it’s a good idea to call your credit or debit card company, even if you don’t receive a notification from the retailers.
Let the representative know you’re concerned about the data breach and ask them to cancel your current card number and issue you a new one. That way, thieves won’t be able to use your card for fraudulent charges.
2. Set up a fraud alert
Even if you cancel your card, the hackers might have enough information to open new accounts in your name. That’s why your next step should be to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
Setting up a fraud alert is free. Anytime someone tries to open up a new line of credit in your name, the fraud alert notifies the creditor or lender to take extra steps to verify your identity.
You can set up a fraud alert by contacting one of the three credit reporting agencies:
Preventing credit card theft
If you’re one of the millions of people affected by the latest data breach, it’s important to take action now to prevent thieves from using your information. For added security, consider signing up for Credit Karma’s free identity protection service.
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