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Mass. AG Heads Investigation Into T.J. Maxx Security Breach

The Massachusetts attorney general is leading a probe into the security measures parent company TJX took to protect its consumer-related information from data leaks and hacker attacks.

The Massachusetts attorney general is heading up a multistate civil investigation into the recently disclosed security breach at TJX.

The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office is investigating the breach, which was revealed last month by the Framingham-based company. The state is looking specifically at what security measures the company took to protect consumer information

"TJX has been very cooperative with the Attorney General's Office, and we are interested in continuing to work closely with the company so that we can protect Massachusetts consumers and the marketplace from credit card and other fraud," Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a written statement.

TJX, whose properties 826 T.J. Maxx, 751 Marshalls, and 271 HomeGoods stores, was victim to a hacker who accessed the company's computer systems that process and store information related to customer transactions at its stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as for some stores in Canada, and potentially Canada and Ireland.

The stolen information may include credit and debit card sales transaction data from 2003 as well as data from mid-May through Dec. 2, 2006.

Since taking office last month, Coakley has said that addressing identity theft and credit card fraud will be one of her administration's top priorities.

"The recent TJX date breach demonstrates that Massachusetts citizens do not have all the necessary tools to protect themselves against identity theft or credit card fraud," Coakley said in her statement. "There are several proposals pending, including those that would require notification of consumers when their data was stolen or released, or that would give consumers the right to place a security freeze on their credit reports, which we are interested in reviewing. I look forward to working with the Legislature to determine the best ways to help consumers protect themselves and their credit."

Tips To Protect Yourself

The Massachusetts AG's office is recommending people who have shopped at any of the TJX stores should take these precautionary steps:

  • Call one of the three major credit bureaus and place a one-call fraud alert on your credit report. Call either Equifax: at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742, or TransUnion at 800-680-7289.
  • Order a copy of your credit report, and look for unauthorized activity.
  • If there is unexplained activity on your credit report, place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.
  • You may want to contact the fraud department of the credit card company or bank that you used when you made purchases at the TJX stores. These financial institutions can monitor your account for suspicious activity.

    TJX has established a toll-free customer help line. Callers from the United States can call 866-484-6978. In addition, the company has posted information on its Web site under Important Customer Alert.

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