Local financial institutions are scrambling to determine if any of their customers are among the 40 million people who had their credit and debit card security beached in the major theft of data sets in the custody of Target, 1200 WOAI news reports.
'We don't wait for something like this," said Gary McAlum the Chief Security Officer at USAA. "If we see fraud, we will make a decision to alert the members and possibly reissue the card."
Officials say credit and debit card information from the target breach is already apparently showing up on bulletin boards where hackers buy this sort of thing.
"The fact that they have confirmed that there has been a hacking event means that, unfortunately, some of those cards will probably be used in a fraudulent way," McAlum said.
He says most financial institutions, including USAA, have what is called a 'zero liability' policy, which means the bank will have to pay for that big screen TV the hacker buys in Nigeria. He says because of that, banks are being pro active, and in most cases, they will know that your account has been compromised before you do.
McAlum says, even though the Target breach was huge, and top of mind as it comes around Christmas, data breaches are not rare, and banks and financial institutions like USAA have plenty of experience dealing with them.
"These types of things on a much smaller scale across the internet happen on a regular basis," he said.
He says what banks generally do is keep an eye out for suspicious card activity and send an alert to the card holder to prevent bogus charges from being tacked onto bills. The standard operating procedure is to simply cancel the compromised account and issue the card holder with a new card. In most cases, that is the first time the customer realizes that his or her account has been breached.