Big credit card breach in Japan

Alico Japan said Thursday that credit card data on possibly tens of thousands of its insurance policyholders had apparently leaked, resulting in massive fraudulent transactions.

It said that up to 110,000 policyholders could be affected.

Names of policyholders, their credit card numbers and the expiry dates of the cards were used to make fraudulent purchases via the Internet.

By Thursday, the life insurer said it had received inquiries from more than 1,000 policyholders who complained they had been billed by credit card companies for purchases they hadn’t made.

The parent company of Alico Japan is the U.S.-based American Life Insurance Co. Alico Japan also falls under the umbrella of the giant American International Group Inc. (AIG).

The apparent scope of the fraud makes it one of the largest of its kind in Japan in recent years.

Alico Japan said it was first alerted to the problem on July 14 by a credit card company with which it has business dealings. The credit card company said the leak had apparently occurred at Alico Japan.

Read more on The company does not yet know how the breach occurred.

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