Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. lender by assets, sent some customers new debit cards this week after accounts may have been compromised at a merchant.
Customers are given new account numbers as a precaution if fraud monitoring detects potential security breaches, said Betty Riess, a spokeswoman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company. Bank of America’s actions were in response to an “isolated” incident, said Riess, who declined to comment on how many accounts were affected.
Banks’ costs tied to debit and credit-card fraud are rising as electronic forms of payment replace cash and checks. Financial firms are spending “tens of billions of dollars in data protection,” Leigh Williams, the president of BITS, the technology policy division of the Washington-based Financial Services Roundtable, told lawmakers in June.
“This would’ve been a compromise at a third-party merchant location, it had nothing to do with a security breach of Bank of America’s system,” Riess said in an interview. “If we believe that a customer’s card may have been compromised, we’ll notify the customer and block and re-issue the card.”