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Shoe Company Loses Credit Card Info

A subsidiary of Retail Ventures has reported the loss of an unknown amount of credit card accounts.

Officials at DSW Shoe Warehouse said they discovered the theft of approximately three month's worth of credit card transactions from 103 of its 175 shoe stores nationwide. The Secret Service was notified earlier this week and is involved in the investigation, the company said Tuesday.

Rob Whitehouse, a DSW spokesman, said that while the IT department is still investigating the breach, he indicated that it looked like a hacker was able to access the servers holding the aggregated credit card information and take the information.

The company won't release the names of the stores affected by the theft, nor the number of credit card accounts that were vulnerable to the theft. Whitehouse said they are playing it conservatively to make sure every customer keeps an eye on their credit card's activities, and to give investigators time to find the thief.

"When you're in the business of serving consumers like this, you want to make sure you're out there promptly with the information and taking care of them," Whitehouse said.

Customer information entered on the shoe company's Web site, DSWShoe.com, was not affected, officials said.

ID theft has been thrown into the spotlight in recent weeks, the most recent the unauthorized access to the personal records of 32,000 consumers stored by Seisint, a division of Reed Elsevier, revealed Wednesday. Last month, ChoicePoint revealed the theft of personal information for up to 145,000 consumers in their databases; on Feb. 25, Bank of America officials acknowledged it lost data tapes containing the credit card numbers of 1.2 million federal employees.

DSW officials said they are working with credit card companies and issuers to mitigate the situation and said the credit card companies should be notified if customers see any unauthorized transactions. The company has also set up a help line to address any customer questions, at (800) 314-0224.



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