Rash of debit fraud due to Heartland Payment Systems breach

When Heartland Payment Systems announced a major breach on January 20, some banks and credit unions decided to replace cards proactively. Others decided to just monitor the cards flagged. Now, one week after the deadline for submitting claims to Visa, some banks may be regretting their decision not to replace cards. For example, consider this news report from Eyewitness News in Putnam, CT:

Hundreds of Putnam Bank customers had their debit cards canceled over the weekend after reports of widespread fraud.


Bank CEO Thomas Borner said Putnam Bank had been tracking reports of fraudulent charges all week and had to shut down hundreds of debit cards.

“At that point on Friday afternoon, as inconvenient as it was going to be, we really had no choice because some accounts were being overdrawn,” he said.

Earlier in the year, credit card processor Heartland announced that some Visa card numbers had been compromised.

“We absolutely know it was a third-party breach,” Borner said. “It has nothing to do with Putnam Bank.”

Customers were notified by mail, he said, but last week money started disappearing. All the affected cards were from Heartland, he said.


The charges were showing up around the country at places like Wal-Mart and at gas stations, they said, but none were in Connecticut.

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