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Marshalls and TJ Maxx Security Breach, Identity Theft Caution

Mon April 02 2007 5:53 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=1478
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DEVELOPING …

Many shoppers of Marshalls and TJ Maxx and other TJX Companies received letters today advising them that their identity security may have been compromised and recommended U.S. customers take certain security precautions against identity theft. The precautions involved performing a free credit check, considering anti-fraud insurance on credit cards and contacting the shopper’s home state motor vehicle department. Apparently driver’s license numbers and social security numbers were at risk for some customers.

A “IMPORTANT CUSTOMER ALERT” is posted at the top of Marshalls website. An excerpt follows:

Since we learned of the probability of a breach in mid-December 2006, we have cooperated with law enforcement as well as with the banks and credit card companies that process our customer transactions. Further, we have established customer helplines in three countries and are making available a great deal of helpful information on our company websites.

Recommended steps to help prevent identity theft are posted on the website. Here is the information. Check (marshallsonline.com) for any devleopments:

RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD CUSTOMERS IN THE UNITED STATES:

We encourage credit and debit card customers in the U.S. to take the following steps:

  • Carefully review your statements for your debit card, and your American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA cards for unauthorized transactions. Open your statements promptly, and compare your receipts to your billing statements.
  • If you detect any unauthorized or suspicious use of your card, contact your credit card issuer or issuing bank immediately. By law, you will have no liability for unauthorized use if your credit card number, but not the card itself, has been stolen.
  • Obtain a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free annual report from each credit bureau. Carefully review your report for indications of fraud.

CONTACTING YOUR CREDIT CARD ISSUER OR BANK

We suggest you carefully review your credit and debit card statements. If your review indicates unauthorized activity, you should immediately contact your credit card company or bank to inform them.

ORDERING YOUR FREE CREDIT REPORT

You are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three national credit bureaus.

How to obtain your report:

To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free at 877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Do not contact the three credit bureaus individually. They provide free annual credit reports only through the website or toll-free number.

What to look for:

You should notify the credit bureaus of any inaccuracies in your report, whether due to error or fraud, as soon as possible so the information can be investigated and, if found to be in error, corrected. If there are accounts or charges you did not authorize, immediately notify the appropriate credit bureau by telephone and in writing.

If you find items you don’t understand on your report, call the credit bureaus at the number given on the report. Credit bureau staff will review your report with you. If the information can’t be explained, then you will need to call the creditors involved.

SCAMS AND HOAX EMAILS AND CALLS

Criminals take advantage of situations like this to try to obtain personal information like credit and debit card numbers, PINS and social security and driver’s license numbers. We will not send emails asking for personal information or call you to confirm your personal information. If you receive an email that appears to be from TJX or one of our stores, or a telephone call from someone claiming to be a representative of TJX or one of our stores, do not provide any personal information (including credit or debit card number, social security number, or driver’s license). If you suspect you have received such a “hoax” email or call, please report it to us, using our toll-free number.

TJX has hired an outside firm to monitor the Internet to detect phishing attacks and other online fraudulent scams by criminals seeking to take advantage of our customers. We are notifying both law enforcement and ISP providers when scams are detected.

Additionally, the following is information is available for U.S. customers who may have driver’s license information compromised:

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR U.S. CUSTOMERS WHO RECEIVED LETTERS FROM TJX RELATING TO COMPROMISED DRIVERS’ LICENSE OR OTHER NUMBERS OR WHO PROVIDED THEIR DRIVER’S LICENSE OR OTHER NUMBERS FOR CHECK OR UNRECEIPTED RETURN TRANSACTION:

  • Obtain a credit report from each of the three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free annual report from each credit bureau.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus. Their contact information is provided below under “Placing a Fraud Alert on Your File”.

CONTACTING THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

Customers whose driver’s license number may have been compromised should immediately contact their local departments of motor vehicles for information about recommended steps.

PLACING A FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR CREDIT FILE

If your driver’s license information was compromised, you may want to consider placing a fraud alert and victim’s statement on your credit file. You may also want to save the letter you received from TJX’s Chairman regarding compromised drivers’ license numbers in order to provide it as proof, if necessary, that you have reason to believe you could be the victim of identity theft.

What is a fraud alert?

A fraud alert helps protect you against the possibility of an identity thief opening new credit accounts in your name. When a merchant checks the credit history of someone applying for credit, the merchant gets a notice that there may be fraud on the account. This alerts the merchant to take steps to verify the identity of the applicant.

How to place a fraud alert on your credit file:

You can place a fraud alert on your credit file at each of the three major credit bureaus by contacting any one of the toll-free fraud numbers below. You will reach an automated telephone system that allows you to flag your file with a fraud alert at all three bureaus. The contact information for the credit bureaus is:

Equifax 888-766-0008 www.equifax.com
   Equifax Fraud Assistance Department 800-525-6285
   Equifax Small Business Exchange 800-727-8495
Experian 888-397-3742 www.experian.com
TransUnion 800-680-7289 www.transunion.com

You will be sent instructions on how to get a copy of your report from each of the credit bureaus. As a possible victim of identity theft, you will not be charged for these copies. Even if you do not initially find any signs of fraud on your reports, we recommend that you review your credit reports carefully every three months for the next year. Just call the numbers above to order your reports and keep the fraud alert in place. Check for accounts you don’t recognize in your credit report. Look in the “inquiries” section for names of creditors from whom you haven’t requested credit. (Some companies bill under names other than their store names. The credit bureau will be able to tell you when that is the case.) And look in the “personal information” section for inaccurate information (such as your home address and Social Security number). Errors in this information may be a warning sign of possible identity theft.

APPLYING THE FTC’S RECOMMENDATIONS

If you believe your identity has been stolen, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recommends that you take these additional steps:

  • Close the accounts that you have confirmed or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit (available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft) when you dispute new unauthorized accounts.
  • File your concern with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for their investigations. By filing a concern, it helps the FTC learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so FTC representatives can better assist you. The FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline toll-free number is 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) or you can visit their website at www.ftc.gov.
  • File a local police report. Give your local law enforcement agency as much documented evidence as possible and make sure the police report lists fraudulent accounts. Obtain a copy of the police report and submit it to your creditors and any others that may require proof of the identity theft crime. Save the phone number of your investigator and give it to any creditors or others who require verification of your case.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR IDENTITY THEFT VICTIMS

If you believe that you are the victim of identity theft, Experian, a major credit bureau, recommends that you also:

  • Document all contacts and keep notes of everyone you speak with: ask for names, department names and phone extensions and record the dates on which you spoke to each person.
  • Follow up and make sure everything a creditor or credit bureau has requested is received. You may want to place a follow-up call or send a letter for confirmation.
  • Review your credit reports regularly and obtain another report several months after you believe everything is cleared up.
  • Do not throw away files and make sure you keep all notes and correspondence in case they are needed in the future.


Additional resources are also listed by TJX:

We are updating this section to reflect current information.
Please check back later.

–> INFORMATION FOR U.S. CUSTOMERS TO CONTACT CREDIT CARD COMPANIES AND ISSUING BANKS:

American Express customers should call the phone number on the back of their American Express cards.

Discover Card at: http://www.discovercard.com/
discover/data/account/securityprivacy/shopping.shtml

MasterCard at: http://www.mastercard.com/
us/personal/en/securityandbasics/identitytheft/index.html

Visa at: http://corporate.visa.com/st/consumer_tip.jsp

In addition, Visa and MasterCard holders may contact their issuing banks at the numbers identified on the back of their cards.

INFORMATION FOR U.S. CUSTOMERS TO OBTAIN FREE CREDIT REPORTS:

To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free at 877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Do not contact the three credit bureaus individually. They provide free annual credit reports only through the website, toll-free number or above address.

INFORMATION FOR U.S. CUSTOMERS TO OBTAIN ADDITIONAL CREDIT REPORTS:

Equifax
Order Credit Report: 800-685-1111
Report Fraud: 888-766-0008
Consumer Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
www.equifax.com

Experian
Order Credit Report: 888-397-3742
Report Fraud: 888-397-3742
Experian National Consumer Assistance
475 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
www.experian.com

TransUnion
Order Credit Report: 800-888-4213
Report Fraud: 800-680-7289
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
www.tuc.com

The nearest TJX stores for Arlington Heights residents are

Marshalls
Town & Country Mall
615 East Palatine Road
Arlington Heights, IL  60004
847-577-9177
Directions

TJ Maxx ‘n More
Park Place Fashion Center
1307 North Rand Road
Palatine, IL 60067
Phone: 847-705-1389
Directions

A toll-free help line is available:

In the United States:

866-484-6978

marshallsonline.com

Keywords: computer security credit cards fraud identity theft

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IMPORTANT NOTE: All persons referred to as subjects, defendants, offenders or suspects, etc. are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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