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CUs continue to watch for data breach effects
MADISON, Wis. (3/20/08)--Credit unions continue to monitor potential effects from a data breach involving 165 Hannaford supermarkets in New England and New York, and 106 Sweetbay stores in Florida. Paula Stopera, Capital Communications CU CEO in Albany, told News Now that the credit union has about 13,000 members who shopped at Hannaford stores during the period in which card information was compromised--Dec. 7, 2007 to March 10. The credit union responded to news of the breach by sending letters to all members. The good news is that members are covered under the Visa zero liability protection, she said. If the credit union finds fraud on the accounts, it will block and re-issue cards. Replacing the cards could cost up to $100,000, Stopera said. She encouraged members to look at their statements online and check for suspicious activity--including small purchases. “(The hackers) are not making large purchases, like flat screen televisions,” she added, noting that she’d heard the average purchase amount was around $150. In addition to the New England leagues contacted by News Now Tuesday, the New York State Credit Union League (NYSCUL) is monitoring the situation and will make sure that any information about the investigation that is pertinent to credit unions is disseminated to them in a timely fashion, Bonnie Sklar, league public relations coordinator told News Now. No credit unions have reported fraud to the league. Sklar said that Covera, a card solutions provider operated by the league that works with credit unions in the state, will not be affected “at all.” The league heard about the breach through alerts from Visa and MasterCard Friday, but the companies did not confirm the retailers involved. Hannaford has 40 stores in New York, Sklar said. During a conference call yesterday, the Florida Credit Union League (FCUL) asked the Office of Financial Regulation in Florida if it had heard about any breach ramifications. The office had not heard of any losses from credit unions as a result of the breach, Amy Jowers, FCUL communications coordinator, told News Now. The question was also opened up to the audience of credit unions on the call and no one reported any problems, she noted. News Now also contacted several credit unions in Florida, including GTE FCU, Tampa, and Fairwinds CU, Orlando, who did not have any problems to report. The grocery’s credit union, Hannaford Associates FCU, Scarborough, Maine, placed a warning on its website about the breach. To date, none of the credit union’s cardholders have been affected, and cards are protected by MasterCard and Visa zero liability standards. The credit union encouraged cardholders to contact the credit union if they spot unauthorized activity on their accounts.
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