Alert for Visa card security
July 13, 2007 12:00am

HUNDREDS of Tasmanian Visa card holders have been told to cut up their cards after a security breach in Sweden.
Computer tapes containing card holders' details nationwide were among items in a car stolen from a Swedish data processing company in May.

Many Australian financial institutions are affected, but only some are notifying customers.

Islandstate Credit Union has written to card holders this week warning them to cancel cards and to report unauthorised transactions.

"Your islandstate Visa card details may have been compromised on or after May 25, 2007, due to a possible data breach in Sweden," it says. "As a precaution your Visa card needs to be cancelled and a new card issued."

Islandstate credit union spokeswoman Marsha Cadman said fewer than 5 per cent of the credit union's 80,000 customers were affected.

No instances of fraud had been reported and the credit union was taking a precautionary approach, she said.

"This is not an issue our members should be concerned with. It impacted only a small number of members.

"Some other financial institutions on the mainland haven't cancelled cards, they've just let it go, some of them cancel them immediately.

"We prefer to take the middle ground and say check the card, make sure there's no transactions, and we encourage you to come in and cancel."

Abacus Australian Mutuals manager for financial crimes Leanne Vale said there had been no reports the stolen data had been used in crimes.

"It's a low risk event," she said. "Our credit unions are very prudent and they will always err on the side of caution and will reissue cards and contact card holders and maintain a high level of interaction with their customers. Other financial institutions may not choose to do that."

Australian Bankers' Association chief executive David Bell said banks were aware of the breach and were monitoring customers' accounts.

Visa International spokeswoman Pauline Hayes said card holders were protected against any unauthorised purchases by a zero-liability fraud protection policy.

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