Credit union serving Americans in Germany says 5,700 Visa numbers were stolen
July 20, 2005
DARMSTADT, Germany — A New Hampshire-based credit union serving Americans in Germany released a warning this month that about 5,700 member accounts may have been put at risk.
The Service Credit Union, which is mainly at Army and Air Force bases in southern Germany, said its database was not compromised, but a secondary handler was hacked into and credit card numbers were stolen.
The statement issued out of the corporate office in Portsmouth, N.H., read that they “recently received notification from Visa that an intrusion into the computer system of a merchant has occurred and may have potentially put cardholder data at risk.”
Credit union officials said only Visa numbers were stolen out of the Card Systems Solutions database, not Social Security numbers, so this incident should not lead to any type of identity theft.
Richard E. Tolle, senior vice president of the overseas operation for SCU, said the defensive measures the credit union is taking should protect members from any unauthorized card usage.
“I think we have the situation pretty under control,” Tolle said during a telephone interview Tuesday from his Kaiserslautern office on Pulaski Barracks. “The most important thing is that SCU members either look on their paper statements or e-statements to see if there has been any unauthorized activity in their accounts. If so, they should report it immediately and they will not be held liable for any of the unauthorized transactions.”
So far, Tolle said, members’ accounts have been clear of unauthorized use as a result of the hacking. Plus, all members whose information may have been compromised received a letter of warning that their cards would be blocked as soon as new cards were issued.
Tolle said cards should have been blocked Monday and new cards should have been in mailboxes Tuesday.
Also, new personal identification numbers will arrive in a separate mailing envelope, he said.
Tolle said he did not have exact numbers of how much all the Visa card replacements for the 5,700 members would cost, but he estimates it’s somewhere around $25,000. The corporate statement sent in the mail suggests that members file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if they feel their card has been further compromised or that they’re targeted for identity theft.
The FTC can be contacted online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-IDTHEFT.
Members could also contact SCU at 800-936-7730, ext. 620 or through the Web at www.servicecu.org.