Michaels Arts Supply Store Warns Of Possible Data BreachWhile it is not yet confirmed, it seems as though customers who recently walked into Michael's, North America's largest craft emporium, may have walked out without the security they assume surrounds their personal identification.
According to a Reuters report, a U.S Secret Service spokesman said an investigation was underway to determine if there had been a security breach on its payment card network. While the investigation is underway, the company is advising customers to check their financial statements for fraudulent activity. This would include -- at a minimum -- looking at any purchases you made with a credit or debit card, then examining current charges on those cards. The company did not identify a specific time frame, or how far back customers should research their accounts.
If you purchase craft supplies at Michaels, it would pay to examine your accounts for a security breach. If you also shop at Target, you may feel some deja vu.
Over the holiday shopping season, a colossal data breach hit that store, as well as luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, resulting in a total theft of nearly 42 million payment card records and access to 70 million customer records.
Taken together, investigators are now wondering if the breaches may be part of an orchestrated effort which is only now coming to light.
"This is devastating for them [Michael's] because this is the second time in a row," Gartner security analyst Avivah Litan told Huffington Post reporter Jim Finkle. "The public and the credit card companies are going to slap their wrist twice as hard because they'll say they haven't learned their lesson and that they can't be trusted." It is the job of the retailer to have proper consumer credit safety guards in place. Others may feel the Texas-based chain of 1,105 stores is part of a larger problem that may yet effect more retailers.
The U. S. Federal Bureau of Investigation last week warned retailers to expect more attacks and said the agency has reviewed as many as 20 incidents over the past year that were similar to the recent breaches. Michaels went public with its story in order to warn the public and launch a probe into the matter after hearing that there had been an increase in fraud involving cards of customers who had shopped at its stores.
What is a Michael's customer to do? When the Target incident hit, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, suggested those who wanted to be vigilant be proactive. Considering we do not know when these security breaches will end, and what stores may be involved in the future, it may be prudent to take some of these actions now, or at least file this information with your financial papers for the future.
Susan Spedalle for important steps you should take to protect yourself.