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Credit card data is more vulnerable offline than online

March 23, 2005

Ever since the start of eCommerce, many consumers have been reluctant in giving their credit card information off the Internet, in fear that it may be insecure.

Now, Debra Rossi, executive v.p. of merchant payment solutions at Wells Fargo, says confidential customer information held by brick-and-mortar merchants in physical stores may be more vulnerable to credit card fraud than data held by Internet eCommerce websites.

When online shopping first began, there were fears that criminals would be able to steal unencrypted data out of the firewall of an online retailer, Rossi says. Instead, restaurants, stores and other merchants are proving to be easy targets.

“About eight months ago, somebody walked out of one of those sports clubs with a box with all the Social Security numbers and credit card numbers,” Rossi says.

“This is proprietary data. You must keep it in a secure place. If it’s online, it must be secure. If it’s offline it must be secure.”

Rossi says that Wells Fargo’s 40,000 online merchants are fully compliant with Visa’s Cardholder Information Security Program and that it is now working with its offline merchants to secure confidential cardholder information. CISP outlines Visa’s requirements for protecting online retailers’ consumer databases.

Source: Internet Retailer

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