Concerns over ID theft mount LexisNexis breach widens; GM credit accounts at risk
By Bruce Mohl, Globe Staff | April 13, 2005
Identity theft concerns mounted yesterday as LexisNexis said a security breach at one of its subsidiaries may have been 10 times more severe than an earlier estimate, and GM MasterCard rushed to replace the credit cards of customers affected by a breach at an unidentified national retailer.
GM MasterCard sent letters to customers late last week telling them that "a national retailer's computer system has had a security breach and your credit card account number may be among those that were compromised." A copy of the letter was provided to the Globe by one local GM MasterCard customer.
Officials at General Motors had no immediate comment and referred questions to Household Bank, which issues the GM card. Household Bank could not be reached for comment.
The GM MasterCard letter said the company had not been informed of the merchant involved and probably would not be informed. "Due to the serious nature of this situation," the letter said, GM MasterCard was advising customers to have their credit cards replaced as soon as possible.
LexisNexis, a provider of legal and business news, said yesterday that a review of data search activity at its Accurint subsidiary over the past two years has indicated that 59 times unauthorized persons had gained access to such personal-identifying information as Social Security numbers or driver's license numbers.
Last month the Dayton, Ohio, company had said it was notifying 30,000 individuals whose personal information may have been improperly acquired. Yesterday, the company increased that number to 310,000. Of the 310,000 individuals, 6,078 reside in Massachusetts.