KR: Out of the country? You’re out of luck: Expats left out in info leak case

Kim Tae-jong reports:

Potentially hundreds of thousands of expatiates have been left out in cold in the largest financial data theft case in Korea’s history.

Financial regulators as well as credit card firms and their parent banks have not provided any services for foreign credit card holders to check whether their data was leaked, nor have they offered compensation packages.


But no firm has put up a notice or apology in a foreign language on their Korean and English websites to inform customers from other countries of the theft incident, making it hard for the latter to know what they should do.

“We haven’t posted a notice for foreign customers yet,” an official from Lotte Card said.

The two other companies also failed to put up any notice and did not even provide information on how many foreign customers were affected.

Read more on Korea Times.

That’s the second instance of this type of problem I’ve come across this week. The first was someone on Twitter noting that as a Canadian, she had been notified of the Target breach, but Experian could not sign up people with non-U.S. addresses for the free credit monitoring offer. Target was reportedly looking into that – but at least they notified the customers of the breach.

I’m not buying the excuse from an FSS spokesperson who “admitted that the current measures focus on Koreans, as they did not have enough time to take care of foreigners.” If financial institutions have the time to take foreigners’ business and their money, they should find the time to notify them. At the very least, there should be notices on web sites in alternative languages.

In fact, this type of handling of the leak may have made it open season on foreigners, because if I was a criminal, I’d rush to use their information figuring that they don’t even know they’ve been compromised.

In any event, if you do business or have a credit card in a foreign country, do keep these two situations in mind as you may find yourself out in the cold in the event of a data breach or leak.

In related news, top executives at KB Financial Group  and its Kookmin Bank and credit card units offered to resign as South Korean regulators investigate the leaks.

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