~ Data breach may have affected millions of consumers nationwide…

~ Data breach may have affected millions of consumers nationwide ~

TALLAHASSEE, FL – LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – Attorney General Bill McCollum today cautioned Floridians and other consumers potentially affected by a data breach at Certegy Check Services of St. Petersburg to closely monitor their financial accounts to ensure their personal information is not further compromised.

Certegy Check Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Fidelity National Information Services, Inc, reported on July 3rd that personal information and bank account numbers of 2.3 million consumers had been stolen by a former Certegy employee and sold to numerous data brokers and marketers. Letters are being sent nationwide by Certegy to affected consumers whose personal and financial information was stolen. The letter outlines important steps that consumers should take to protect themselves and their personal information.

“Fortunately, this breach appears to have been contained before any identity theft or theft from consumer bank accounts could occur, but the compromise of sensitive consumer information is a very grave matter under any circumstance,” Attorney General McCollum stated. “I commend Certegy for notifying consumers quickly and my office will continue to watch this case closely to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to prevent any further injury.”

Certegy, a St. Petersburg-based company that provides check authorization services to retailers, maintains consumer bank account information and credit card information in its secured databases. Since July 3rd, the estimated number of consumers affected by the data breach has risen to 4 million and it is likely that this number will continue to increase as more information about the theft surfaces. At this time, no criminal identity theft related to the use of the consumer data has been identified, but the full extent of the potential damage to consumers may not yet be known. Attorney General McCollum encouraged consumers to be vigilant and to report any suspicious contacts they receive or activity on their accounts to law enforcement.

Last week, Certegy mailed 2.3 million letters nationwide to consumers whose information was compromised and more letters are anticipated in the near future. To date, 100,000 letters have been sent to Florida consumers.
Certegy reported that more than 44,000 consumers have contacted the company’s toll-free number in response to the letter and the company will provide consumers with credit monitoring services if requested. Under a Florida law passed in 2005, businesses that maintain computerized data that includes personal information are required to provide notice whenever they experience breaches of system security that compromise personal information.

For more information, consumers may call Certegy at 866-498-9916 or may visit their website at http://www.certegy.com. Affected consumers are encouraged to take the precautionary steps outlined in the Certegy letter, including obtaining a free fraud alert from one of the credit reporting agencies. Furthermore, if consumers believe at any time they are victims of identity theft, they should report this to the police and request that the national credit bureaus place a fraud alert on their credit reports.
Consumers should also notify banks and creditors involved of questionable charges or accounts, keep records of all telephone calls and follow up in writing with credit bureaus, banks and creditors.

If you received a letter from Certegy and you continue to receive marketing calls that you suspect result from this data breach, please report this activity to the Attorney General’s Citizens Services Hotline at 1-866-9-No SCAM (1-866-966-7226). Additional information about protecting yourself from identity theft is available online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft.

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