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Last updated on Saturday, March 31, 2012
(UNDATED) - A federal investigation is underway, after what’s being called a massive credit card breach.
Hackers are at it again.
This time, a major security breach exposing potentially millions of MasterCard and Visa credit card holders to identity theft.
"We're told that there's a very large breach. The word 'massive' has been used.
Apparently the target this time is corporate America," said Joan Antokol, a data and privacy security expert with Park Legal LLC.
Experts say the breach may have started through taxicab and parking garage credit payments on the east coast in January and February.
But now the impact may be much larger.
MasterCard and Visa are notifying banks that issue their cards about accounts that could be at risk.
"The hackers are so good and they know that's where the money is," said Bradford Barkley, Lebanon.
"I'm a little worried. I'm a Visa cardholder myself and I'm really hoping I'm not a victim of identity theft of some sort or another," said Bryan Finney, Indianapolis.
"Anybody would panic thinking their card may be used and exposed. Their credit can be affected by this," Antokol said.
This hacker attack was not on the credit card companies themselves, but rather a third party processor: Global Payments, Incorporated.
That company acts as a middleman for Visa and MasterCard, processing credit cards and holding your personal data. That's kind of data criminals want.
"With that type of data they're able to make fictitious credit cards," Antokol explained.
So what should you do as a consumer to protect yourself?
"The first thing is don't panic because your liability is limited here," Antokol said.
That's because MasterCard and Visa say customers will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges on their accounts.
But as a customer, you have to be aware if there's a problem.
"Look at your statements and see if there's anything that looks suspicious," Antokol advised.
"Call the credit card companies (if there is a problem) and get a copy of your credit report. You can for free at www.annualcreditreport.com."
That's what local cardholders are doing, as they wait to hear just how many people were exposed to fraud.
"Just to make sure I'm not a victim, yeah," Finney said.
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