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Forever 21 breach exposed credit card information for 7 months

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Mike Timmermann, Clark.com

Los Angeles-based fashion retailer Forever 21 has confirmed that a data breach exposed customer payment card information over a period of seven months.

Hackers obtained payment card numbers, expiration dates, verification codes and even cardholder names in some cases.

Forever 21 breach: What you need to know

An investigation that began late last year determined that the encryption technology on some point-of-sale (POS) devices at some stores wasn’t always on.

The investigation also found signs of unauthorized network access and installation of malware on some POS devices.

Forever 21 hasn’t specified how many customers were affected, but the company said encryption was off and malware was installed on some devices in U.S. stores at varying times from April 3, 2017 to November 18, 2017.

Here are more details from a company statement:

“Additionally, Forever 21 stores have a device that keeps a log of completed payment card transaction authorizations. When encryption was off, payment card data was being stored in this log. In a group of stores that were involved in this incident, malware was installed on the log devices that was capable of finding payment card data from the logs, so if encryption was off on a POS device prior to April 3, 2017 and that data was still present in the log file at one of these stores, the malware could have found that data.”

Payment cards used on Forever 21’s website were not affected by the breach.

The retailer suggests that customers review payment card statements for any unauthorized activity and immediately report unauthorized charges to their card issuer.

Money expert Clark Howard also recommends that everyone freeze their credit. See our step-by-step guide.

For more information about the Forever 21 breach: 

  • Visit www.forever21.com/protectingourcustomers
  • Call 1-855-560-4992, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST
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