Debit Card Fraud on A Grand Scale

Silicon reports that a spate of fraudulent debit card charges in Massachusetts, New Mexico and Bermuda is being linked to a case that led some West Coast Americanfinancial institutions last month to replace 200,000 cards.

Citibank, a major issuer of debit and credit cards, has "detected several hundred fraudulent cash withdrawals in three countries", according to a spokesman. The bank told customers the thefts are a result of an information breach at a "third-party business" that it did not name.

Meanwhile, at least seven financial institutions in Western Massachusetts reissued debit cards last week after hundreds of customers noticed charges on their accounts from places including Barcelona, Pakistan, Romania and Spain, according to a spokesman for the state's Consumer Affairs Office (CAO).

The situation prompted the CAO and the Division of Banks to release a joint statement urging debit card holders statewide to check their accounts for fraudulent activity.

Two banking sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the recent cases are tied to the massive debit-card replacement on the West Coast last month. In that case, Bank of America, Washington Mutual and other banks notified customers that a security breach at an undisclosed merchant had forced them to take precautions.