JP Pritchard

Secret Service Investigating Major Credit Card Breach

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Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a security breach at Global Payment, the country’s third-largest processor of electronic transfers, that may have put tens of thousands of credit cards at risk for fraud.  

MasterCard and Visa alerted the nation’s banks but said their own systems were not compromised.

“MasterCard is concerned whenever there is any possibility that cardholders could be inconvenienced and we continue to both monitor this event and take steps to safeguard account information.  If cardholders have any concerns about their individual accounts, they should contact their issuing financial institution,” MasterCard said in a statement.

MasterCard and Visa have told financial institutions that issue credit cards, which account numbers have been affected but there’s no official word how many cards may be at risk.

“Visa Inc. is aware of a potential data compromise incident at a third party entity affecting card account information from all major card brands. There has been no breach of Visa systems, including its core processing network VisaNet,” the company said in a statement.

Trading of Global Payment stock was halted at 11:50 a.m. ET after shares dropped nine percent.  The company has not responded to requests for comment.

The breach was first reported by Brian Krebs, who writes the blog Krebs on Security.  He said the compromised cards all had something in common:  they were used at parking garages in New York City.  

The U.S. Secret Service declined to comment about specifics, saying investigators are in the early stages of their work.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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