10,000 in Hawaii
at risk in data theft

Banks say they will issue
new cards on customer request

About 10,000 debit and credit cards at several of Hawaii's major financial institutions might have been affected by the breach of security at Mastercard International last weekend, according to preliminary estimates.

Getting credit reports

Under federal law, each of the three credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, TransUnion and Experian -- is required to provide one free copy of your credit report each year.

To get your copies from all three agencies, you can call a central information number at (877) 322-8228 or go online at www.annualcreditreport.com.

When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for these indicators of possible fraudulent activity:

» Unfamiliar accounts, especially ones that have been newly opened.
» Unauthorized charges to existing accounts.
» Addresses where you have not lived.

If there are any irregularities in any of the information, you should immediately check with the financial institution involved.

Last week Mastercard International revealed that information on more than 40 million credit and debit cards might have been stolen after thieves captured credit data that should have been discarded but was instead kept in an unencrypted form by Atlanta-based processor CardSystems Solutions. Data at risk included names, card numbers and security codes.

Locally, bank officials have not reported any fraudulent charges being made to the accounts in question. However, they have identified some cards as being at "high risk" of having card information compromised.

First Hawaiian Bank officials said that of the 500,000 debit and credit cards they have issued, about 0.5 percent, or 2,500 cards, were identified as being in the high-risk category.

"These were the ones with enough information compromised that someone might be able to counterfeit a card, and that's why they're high-risk," said bank spokesman Gerry Keir.

"We are monitoring those accounts, however, and so far there has been no fraudulent activity.

"We will, of course, replace any cards upon request. ... We're leaving that to up to the customer."

Bank of Hawaii officials said they were notified by Visa that 7,000 of their debit card holders might have been affected, but that only nine in that group were identified as high-risk.

"We are working with those customers to issue new cards, which removes any further risk related to this particular situation," said Bankoh spokesman Stafford Kiguchi. "Customers are not liable for any fraudulent transactions."

Central Pacific Bank identified about 1,000 debit card holders at risk, and expects to provide customers with new cards by next week.

"They can continue to use their existing cards until they receive their new ones," said CPB spokeswoman Ann Takiguchi. "Although we have not had any report of fraudulent charges on those debit cards, we're taking one step further to protect our customers."

Officials for Hawaii's third-largest bank, American Savings, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Territorial Savings Bank Senior Vice President Stanley Tanaka said none of its customers had been affected.

Bank customers are being advised to ask for new credit or debit card accounts no matter which bank they deal with if they find out their information may no longer be secure.

"If my card information is compromised anywhere, I'm going to get a new one," said Ann Deschene, president of the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii. "And I'd advise anybody with any financial institution to do the same thing.

"Who's at risk, the bank or the customers? I think we all know it's the customer, and it's their responsibility to take care of their credit."

Some smaller credit unions reported 100 debit card accounts or fewer affected. In some cases, members were told their debit cards would be rendered useless while they waited as long as two weeks for a new one to be sent in the mail.

The problem was identified June 17 when MasterCard International officials reported a breach of payment card data, which potentially exposed more than 40 million cards of all brands to fraud. Of those, approximately 13.9 million are MasterCard-branded cards, some 20 million are Visa, and the remainder included American Express and Discover.

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