Another retailer announces a major data security breach... Forever21 has announced that nearly 100,000 credit and debit card numbers were illegally accessed by hackers. Customers who shopped at Forever21 on nine specific days in 2004 and 2007 may be victims. I doubt any of you have your receipts from then, but here are the dates:

  • March 25, 2004
  • March 26, 2004
  • June 23, 2004
  • July 2, 2004
  • July 3, 2004
  • August 4, 2007
  • August 5, 2007
  • August 13, 2007
  • August 14, 2007

Also: The Fresno Cali store between November 26, 2003 and October 24, 2005.

I'm already questioning the intelligence of the hackers. They had the smarts to get around the security measures and get into the system. Yet they steal data that is several years old? Sounds like an awfully stupid criminal move to me.

One positive bit of news related to this data theft is that three people have been indicted based upon this scam, which included 11 other retailers. Forever 21 says that after having forensic consultants examine their records, they determined that over half of the compromised card numbers are no longer active or the cards have expired.

Watching Your Plastic

    Kira Limer pays cash for a book at Barnes & Noble, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008 in New York. The idea of cutting out credit cards is gaining more exposure at a time when Americans hold more than $850 billion in credit card debt, four times as much as in 1990. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

    AP

    Kira Limer pays cash for a book at Barnes & Noble, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008 in New York. The idea of cutting out credit cards is gaining more exposure at a time when Americans hold more than $850 billion in credit card debt, four times as much as in 1990. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

    AP

    In this image released by the Brown County Sheriff's Office, Wendy Brown is shown in a booking mug after her arrest on Sept. 4, 2008, in Green Bay, Wis. Brown, 33, is charged with felony identity theft after enrolling in Ashwaubenon High School as her daughter, who lives in Nevada with Brown's mother. (AP Photo/ Brown County Sheriff's Office)

    AP

    This handout photo courtesy of the Boston Police Department shows suspect Clark Rockefeller. FBI agents on August 2, 2008 arrested a man accused of abducting his seven-year-old daughter, who was visiting from London, sparking a national manhunt and fevered speculation over the flamboyant fugitive's identity.The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston, where Clark Rockefeller allegedly abducted his daughter Reigh Storrow Boss from his ex-wife a week ago, said the fugitive was arrested in Baltimore, Maryland, and the girl freed. Rockefeller is now likely to face charges including kidnapping, assault, and possibly identity theft. However, police are no closer to resolving who the man they have in custody really is. He has reportedly used a number of aliases, including J.P. Clark Rockefeller, Clark Mill Rockefeller, as well as plain Michael Brown. Police at first thought he was about to flee to Bermuda or Peru on a yacht docked in Long Island, near New York. Some reports had him already in the Caribbean. AFP PHOTO/BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT/HANDOUT=RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE =GETTY OUT= (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    LA CANADA, CA - AUGUST 05: Customers shop at a TJ Maxx store on August 5, 2008 in La Canada, California. The Justice Department has charged 11 people with stealing more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers of customers shopping at TJX Companies, which owns the Marshall's and TJ Maxx chains, and other major retailers by hacking into their computers. The information was then allegedly sold to people who used it to steal tens of thousands of dollars at a time from accounts through automated teller machines in the US and Europe. It is one of the biggest identity-theft cases on record. Charges against the suspects, who are from the US, China, Ukraine, Belarus, and Estonia, include computer fraud, wire fraud, access-device fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy. The suspects also accused of hacking into the computers of Barnes & Noble, Forever 21, Sports Authority, OfficeMax, Boston Market, DSW Inc., and BJ's Wholesale Club to steal information. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    LA CANADA, CA - AUGUST 05: Customers shop at a TJ Maxx store on August 5, 2008 in La Canada, California. The Justice Department has charged 11 people with stealing more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers of customers shopping at TJX Companies, which owns the Marshall's and TJ Maxx chains, and other major retailers by hacking into their computers. The information was then allegedly sold to people who used it to steal tens of thousands of dollars at a time from accounts through automated teller machines in the US and Europe. It is one of the biggest identity-theft cases on record. Charges against the suspects, who are from the US, China, Ukraine, Belarus, and Estonia, include computer fraud, wire fraud, access-device fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy. The suspects also accused of hacking into the computers of Barnes & Noble, Forever 21, Sports Authority, OfficeMax, Boston Market, DSW Inc., and BJ's Wholesale Club to steal information. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    LA CANADA, CA - AUGUST 05: Customers shop at a TJ Maxx store on August 5, 2008 in La Canada, California. The Justice Department has charged 11 people with stealing more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers of customers shopping at TJX Companies, which owns the Marshall's and TJ Maxx chains, and other major retailers by hacking into their computers. The information was then allegedly sold to people who used it to steal tens of thousands of dollars at a time from accounts through automated teller machines in the US and Europe. It is one of the biggest identity-theft cases on record. Charges against the suspects, who are from the US, China, Ukraine, Belarus, and Estonia, include computer fraud, wire fraud, access-device fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy. The suspects also accused of hacking into the computers of Barnes & Noble, Forever 21, Sports Authority, OfficeMax, Boston Market, DSW Inc., and BJ's Wholesale Club to steal information. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    LA CANADA, CA - AUGUST 05: Customers shop at a TJ Maxx store on August 5, 2008 in La Canada, California. The Justice Department has charged 11 people with stealing more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers of customers shopping at TJX Companies, which owns the Marshall's and TJ Maxx chains, and other major retailers by hacking into their computers. The information was then allegedly sold to people who used it to steal tens of thousands of dollars at a time from accounts through automated teller machines in the US and Europe. It is one of the biggest identity-theft cases on record. Charges against the suspects, who are from the US, China, Ukraine, Belarus, and Estonia, include computer fraud, wire fraud, access-device fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy. The suspects also accused of hacking into the computers of Barnes & Noble, Forever 21, Sports Authority, OfficeMax, Boston Market, DSW Inc., and BJ's Wholesale Club to steal information. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    This July 21, 2008 photo shows the golden arches of McDonald's at a truck stop in St. Cloud, MN. Nearly half of Americans are saving less, and nearly a quarter have reined in their spending on food and healthcare as soaring petrol prices bite into household budgets. "Forty-five percent of respondents have been putting less money into savings accounts; 24 percent have cut back on essentials like food or healthcare; and 17 percent have charged more expenses on credit cards -- all troubling trends," according to the Auto Pulse survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    This July 21, 2008 photo shows fuel prices displayed at a truck stop in St. Cloud, MN. Nearly half of Americans are saving less, and nearly a quarter have reined in their spending on food and healthcare as soaring petrol prices bite into household budgets. "Forty-five percent of respondents have been putting less money into savings accounts; 24 percent have cut back on essentials like food or healthcare; and 17 percent have charged more expenses on credit cards -- all troubling trends," according to the Auto Pulse survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images


100,000 card numbers doesn't seem like a lot when you compare that to the millions of consumers who were affected by other security breaches. It becomes even less impressive when you consider that only 50,000 of those numbers might even be valid. But it's not so insignificant if you were one of the affected consumers.

It doesn't look like the retailer is offering any services or compensation for those who have been affected by the data breach. However, if you do find that your data was compromised and you have incurred fraudulent charges or otherwise had your identity stolen, I would recommend that you contact Forever21. They may be willing to help you sort things out.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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