Last April, when news came of a possible “massive” security breach at payment processing company Global Payments, they were quick to downplay the incident, saying it was “contained” and that they believed nothing had been taken from the 1.5 million accounts that were compromised. Now it seems that may not be true after all.
On Tuesday, Atlanta-based Global Payments issued a new statement, saying that in its ongoing investigation into the breach it has found another problem. Merchant information may have been accessed, possibly leaving merchants vulnerable to identity theft and fraudulent transactions.
Although when the original incident occurred, Global Payments said in a statement that “it is crucial to understand that this incident does not involve our merchants or their relationships with their customers,” now it`s clear that this was not true at all. Merchant information including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, drivers` license numbers and bank account numbers may have been leaked in the breach.
Yesterday, Global Payments CEO Paul Garcia issued another statement, this time saying, “It is unclear whether the intruders looked at or took any personal information from the company`s system” and that “we are outraged by these criminal acts.”
Professional Damage Uncontained
Outranged, indeed – after the breach was reported in April, both MasterCard and Visa dropped Global Payments as a processor. After earning $209 million on revenue of $1.86 billion last year, they have seen a 19 percent decline in stock price since the breach. On Tuesday, they lost 24 cents in extended trading after the news came out of further security concerns. On July 26, they are scheduled to report their fourth-quarter earnings and how much of a financial hit they`ve taken from this breach will be clearer.
Global Payments still says that no fraudulent charges have been reported as a result of the breach, but merchants and customers alike should still be wary and watch their accounts closely for any unusual activity. Global Payments says they plan to pay for credit monitoring and identity protection insurance for merchants and consumers whose information is at risk due to the breach.
Anyone who believes that their information may have been accessed should take the following precautions to safeguard themselves from identity theft or fraudulent activity:
- Review statements carefully. Don`t wait for paper statements – go online and monitor your credit card account and bank account activity. If you see anything unusual, alert your financial institution immediately.
- Order a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report per year – get a copy and look it over carefully for anything that doesn`t look right. You can put a fraud alert on your credit report if you believe you are at risk for identity theft, so that you know if negative information is added or there is unusual activity.
- Don`t panic. All reputable credit card issuers and banks have zero-liability policies in place to protect consumers from criminal activity and fraudulent charges. Be vigilant and contact your financial institution if you are worried that your information has been compromised, but there is no cause for panic.
More Information Forthcoming
Global Payments still says they believe the incident is contained, and regarding the lack of information about exactly whose information was compromised, Garcia said in a Tuesday conference call, “I am sorry I am not more forthcoming on this, but this is still evolving as we speak. We are going to do the right thing, period.”