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B2B Breakfast: Data breaches becoming more common

Last Modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 11:22 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

More businesses are reporting credit and debit card data being breached, and companies are having to constantly work to make sure sensitive information stays protected, U.S. Secret Service Agent Lou Velez told local businesses on Friday.

Velez, an agent with the Secret Service’s Baton Rouge division, spoke at the B2B Breakfast hosted by the Better Business Bureau of Southwest Louisiana. While 85 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses, he said larger companies are also at risk. The problem largely stems from credit and debit card data being stolen from Point-of-Sale (POS) computer systems that businesses use to handle purchases.

“If you take a credit or debit card, it could happen to you,” he said. “Today, it’s almost what major corporation has not been hacked. If there is a flaw, someone’s going to find it.”

Most people who steal information from credit or debit cards are from countries outside the U.S., according to Velez. He said the agency has responded to about 15 data breaching incidents in the Lake Charles area.

Velez said the agency is seeing “a very heavy spike” in people buying credit card numbers. He said people who once sold drugs are now selling credit card numbers because they can make more money. The corridor between Houston and New Orleans has plenty of people looking to steal and sell that information, he said.

For more on Velez's speech, pick up a copy of Saturday's American Press.

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