Your BBB has learned that JP Morgan Chase bank announced on December 4, 2013 that hackers may have accessed the personal information of 465,000 cardholders across the U.S. The card accounts that were hacked were JP Morgan Chase prepaid cash cards called UCards (formerly known as EBT cards which stands for Electronic Benefit Transfer). Ucards are used by corporations to pay employees and by government agencies to issue tax refunds, unemployment compensation, food stamp benefits, and other benefits. The information entered on the UCard website may have been exposed when cardholders activated the card and when they transferred balances. Data that may have been compromised includes name, social security number, bank account number, card number, date of birth, security answer, password, address, phone number, and email address.
The attack is thought to have occurred between mid-July and mid-September 2013 when it was discovered by JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan Chase did not make the information public until this month. The bank has been working to determine which accounts were involved and exactly what information was compromised. JP Morgan is not saying how the attackers hacked into the bank’s network, and they do not know who is responsible. UCard users’ personal information is normally encrypted, but it appeared in plain text in the temporary files that the computers use to log activity. The Secret Service and the FBI are investigating.
The states of Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut reported that JP Morgan notified them of the breach last week. In a statement to the media, Connecticut Treasurer Denise Nappier said, “I am dismayed that JPMorgan Chase delayed informing my Office of this security breach for two and a half months — from mid-September, when they first learned of it, until this week. They should have picked up the phone immediately and called us.”
While JP Morgan Chase believes only “a small amount” of data was taken and they have found no evidence that the information was used improperly, they are offering Ucard holders two years of free credit-monitoring services and identity theft insurance through ITAC Sentinel. JP Morgan Chase is also urging Ucard holders to report any transactions they don’t recognize to the number on the back of their card.
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