Unemployment office: Some debit cards may have been compromised
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Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- More than 1,700 unemployment recipients in Nevada will get replacement debit cards because the cards may have been compromised as part of a massive data breach at Target, the state said Thursday.
There were 1,768 card numbers that appeared on a list of possible compromised cards, said Mae Worthey, spokeswoman for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. The cards were used at Target during the window period of Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 when information may have been exposed, she said.
Card administrators confirmed 25 accounts were compromised, Worthey said, but it's unclear if the compromise happened because of the Target breach or some other reason.
Phyllis Medlin is searching for answers after her Visa debit card was emptied overseas this week. The state deposited unemployment money in the account on Tuesday but when she went to check the balance:
"There was virtually no funds. There was a dollar," Phyllis said.
The account was drained. Phyllis said she knew something was wrong.
"I called them, and I went online, and I see an international withdrawal from England," said Phyllis.
Phyllis lives in the Las Vegas area. Someone withdrew $396 on Tuesday from nearly half a world away: a rail station in London, England. Phyllis believes someone got her information and her money, which she needs since she's out of work.
"You don't know what they have. When they have access to your funds, immediate funds, that's scary," Phyllis said.
According to her online debit card statement, Phyllis used the card at the Target store on Eastern Avenue on Dec. 3. While it's not clear if that's how the information got out, Target is investigating a massive data breach. Target said credit and debit card information from nearly 40 million customers may have been exposed.
"There's so much going on with this right now, you can't prove it.," Phyllis said. "My information was compromised."
In this situation, the unemployment money comes from the state but the card is issued by Wells Fargo bank and administered by Xerox. Phyllis said she immediately called to report the incident.
"I can only file a report and I have to get it back within ten days," Phyllis said. "I haven't gotten the paperwork yet because of the holiday."
"Xerox’s Fraud Prevention team is monitoring all card activity around the clock, as always, for our clients," spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in a statement to Action News. "Our goal is to keep the cards secure and to protect recipients."
The statement continues, "With respect to any and all fraudulent claims to the EPPICard accounts we manage, we are bound by guidelines set by the Federal government under Regulation E and are required to inform affected consumers of the maximum time that it could take to investigate claims of fraudulent activity. However, we are committed to work through claims as they are received and to get them resolved ASAP. Cardholders may always receive provisional (temporary) credit for their claim if they provide us with written notice within 10 days of reporting."
According to the terms of service of the card, there is a possibility that Phyllis will get her money back as long as she files her claim on time and depending on the outcome of the investigation.
"You shouldn't have to worry about this," Phyllis said. "You figure they would question a transaction like this."
Worthey said Xerox is taking steps to replace the cards and replace any funds that may have been removed through fraudulent means.
Action News reached out to the Target media office several times on Thursday but did not hear back.
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