Secret Service Launches Investigation Into Mega Credit Card Breach

Federal agents are probing a payment card breach that reportedly may involve more than 10 million debit and credit card accounts, the Secret Service tells Nextgov.

The suspected cybercrime may be tied to Dominican street gangs in and around New York City, reports security researcher Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter.

VISA and MasterCard last week started alerting banks about certain cards that may have been compromised between Jan. 21 and Feb. 25, he writes. The data stolen from one of their third party processors could be used to produce counterfeit cards, he notes. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company infiltrated is U.S.-based Global Payments Inc.

"We are confirming that the Secret Service is investigating this case," agency spokesman Brian Leary told Nextgov on Friday afternoon.

"Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are very limited in what we can say," he said. "Although cases like this can be complex, the Secret Service relies on a mixture of investigative methods, including interviews, surveillance, search warrants, evidence analysis, along with computer forensics."

The FBI referred inquiries to the Secret Service.

VISA issued a statement saying the global payment firm "has provided payment card issuers with the affected account numbers so they can take steps to protect consumers through independent fraud monitoring and, if needed, reissuing cards. It's important for U.S. Visa consumer cardholders to know they are protected against fraudulent purchases with Visa's zero liability fraud protection policy, which exceeds federal safeguards. As always, Visa encourages cardholders to regularly monitor their accounts and to notify their issuing financial institution promptly of any unusual activity. Additional consumer security tips are available at"