A Sense of Security
Something is amiss. Those of us of an age to remember the old B-movie westerns know that it’s the good guy that wins and the bad guy that goes off to jail. Lately, however, it appears as though the bad guys may be finding crime does pay.
As a piece in The Providence Journal points out, TJX, Ross-Simons, CVS and now Stop & Shop have discovered security breaches that have put customers of those retail businesses at significant financial risk.
Two years ago, DSW Shoe Warehouse found that lapses in its computer system security led to the theft of 1.5 million consumer records. An investigation in that case found hackers had stolen credit, debit and checking account information from consumers in 25 states.
In the most recent case at Stop & Shop, thieves tampered with checkout touch pads at six stores in Rhode Island. The supermarket chain alerted the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office of its discover on Saturday and a hotline has been set up to answer customers’ questions. Stop & Shop has also posted information on its website.
Michael Healey, a spokesman for Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, said, “It seems as though the thefts could be the result of a pretty organized criminal effort.”
Mark Lilien, a consultant with Retail Technology Group and a member of the RetailWire BrainTrust, said the Stop & Shop incident was not as sophisticated as previous electronic break-ins.
“It’s an awful lot of work to do for not a lot of money and the tremendous chance of getting caught,” Mr. Lilien said. “I’d be surprised if it was a significant amount of transactions.”
Discussion Question: To some, it may appear as though electronic systems have put consumers and companies at greater risk of theft than back in the cash and carry days. What is the current state of data security in retailing and what was your reaction when you heard the limited details released on the Stop & Shop case?