Sunday, February 8, 2009

Best Buy says customer credit card numbers stolen - - 6 Feb 09

Ex-employee at West Palm Beach store arrested

Best Buy officials said Friday a former employee stole credit card numbers of 4,000 customers who shopped at the West Palm Beach consumer electronics store in November and December, during the busy holiday shopping season.

Federal authorities arrested Brittany Johnson, 22, of West Palm Beach, formerly a cashier at the Best Buy store at 1880 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. in West Palm Beach. They charged her for allegedly stealing thousands of credit cards numbers from customers, according to a criminal complaint by the U.S. attorney's office in Miami.

She sold the credit card numbers to Marius TyreeÖ Harden, 28, of Tamarac, authorities said. Johnson and Harden were arrested on Jan. 15 and Jan. 30, respectively. Both were charged with possession of a skimming device with the intent to defraud.

Johnson told U.S. Secret Service agents that Harden approached her in November and gave her the skimming device, or card reader, to copy credit cards from customers as they make purchases. Johnson copied credit cards from customers and met with Harden weekly in November and December and sold him the card numbers for $17 per number. She made about $1,000.

Harden resold them to third parties for hundreds of dollars, authorities said.

On Friday, Best Buy, the nation's largest electronics chain, posted some information about the personal security breach on its Web site.

"The security and privacy of our customers is very important to Best Buy," said Todd Hartman, a Best Buy vice president and chief compliance officer in a statement. "We regret any inconvenience this situation may have caused our customers."

Best Buy officials said the West Palm Beach store's computer system wasn't compromised by the security breach.

And company officials are reviewing the internal system to minimize such incidents in the future. The company has also mailed letters to notify affected customers.

Best Buy is urging customers who shopped at the store in November and December

By Mc Nelly Torres

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