PORTLAND, Maine (2/17/11)--Maine credit unions have discovered a security breach impacting consumers who made purchases at a jewelry store in November and December, according to the Maine Credit Union League. Credit unions are helping more than 1,000 members who are among those reporting fraudulent activity on their credit and debit cards. The computer system breach occurred at Day's Jewelers, based in Waterville, Maine (The Associated Press
Feb. 15). Day's has five stores in Maine and one in New Hampshire. State police said the breach compromised thousands of credit and debit card account numbers. Personal identification was not accessed and purchases made online were not affected, said Day's in a statement. League President/CEO John Murphy said the suspicious activity was noted during the past several days, and while the fraud activity affects thousands of consumers, the focus for Maine's credit unions is on those members impacted by the breach. "The first priority of credit unions is on assisting and answering questions from members," he said. "Cards are being reissued to those members affected and our credit unions are working to insure that the inconvenience to members is minimal." Murphy emphasized that neither consumers nor their credit union or other financial institution did anything wrong. "Credit unions have a number of advanced fraud protection and fraud prevention systems in place that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to identify and eliminate fraudulent card activity," he added. The league provided these tips for consumers:
* Monitor and review accounts regularly and report unusual charges or activity; * Be warned of possible scams and avoid giving out personal information via phone or e-mail; financial institutions, including credit unions, and credit card companies will not ask for this information in this manner; and * Report suspicious solicitations and activity to your financial institution and local authorities.
Two years ago, the Maine-based Hannaford grocery chain was breached, and hackers accessed more than four million credit and debit card numbers used at 165 Hannford stores in the Northeast and 106 Sweetbay stores in Florida. At least 1,800 numbers were stolen and used for unauthorized purchases.