Hazards of digital world seen on local computer hack

In recent days, news of another credit card security breach hit consumers in the Marquette area, this time involving the Tadych’s Econofoods in Marquette. Management officials said some customer’s credit or debit card information may have been compromised over a 41-day period and obtained by an unauthorized person or criminal network.

Store officials said if customers used their credit or debit card at the Marquette Econofoods store between Jan. 8 and Feb. 17, that card may have been accessed. Only the Marquette Tadych’s Econofoods store was affected by the security breach.

“Individual card numbers and expiration dates may have been accessed, but not the cardholder’s name, address, social security number or any other identifying information,” store management said in a news release. “When notified of the situation, Tadych’s Econofoods immediately took action. The threat was contained and security upgrades were put into place immediately. The local authorities have been contacted, as well as area banks, credit unions and credit card companies.”

The company did not detail how many customers may have been affected in the incident.

In recent months, Target Corp. announced a breach affecting 110 million of its consumers, followed by credit card information of 1.1 million Neiman Marcus customers being compromised.

In recent testimony to Congress, retailers warned there will likely be more breaches to come as the sophistication of cyber criminals seeking to get credit, debit and Social Security card information, security codes and other personal data, improves.

Meanwhile, credit card security has unfortunately remained relatively the same.

“Real change would require all the actors in the payment card system – merchants, banks (that) issue credit cards and the card networks – to work together to replace the plastic in our wallets with something more sophisticated, such as a card with a computer chip,” Danielle Douglas of the Washington Post said in a recent blog.

Meanwhile, to protect themselves as much as possible, consumers need to stay vigilant, as Tadych’s Econofoods management suggested, to watch for unauthorized credit or debit card charges, which should be reported to the bank or other company issuing the credit or debit card.

Customers should also not give personal information over the phone to callers who may say they are from businesses affected by a breach, banks or police. These calls may be made by scammers trying to access personal data from consumers, capitalizing on news of the unfortunate security breaches.

Some of these calls were reported in the area after the Tadych’s Econofoods breach was announced.

Econo Foods officials handled the issue about as well as it could be handled. Regrettably, in this digital world we live in, this kind of thing is going to happen from time to time to someone.

To learn more about stolen credit and debit cards, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection website at: consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards.