Breach, Threat Management, Data Security

Officials seek cause of card breach affecting Boston convention attendees

Hundreds of individuals who attended conferences at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) are reporting unauthorized charges to their credit cards.  

How many victims? So far, around 300 people have had their card details fraudulently used.

What type of personal information? Credit card information.

What was the response? Officials of the convention center, as well as local businesses, contacted Boston area law enforcement and state police. The Secret Service has also been tapped to investigate the breach.

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority also began investigating the breach around Thanksgiving, after it received complaints from two impacted groups that attended October and November events at BCEC: The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) conference and the American Public Health Association's (APHA) annual meeting.

Details: Conference attendees reported that their credit cards were used fraudulently at a number of places, including Boston area restaurants and business, but also at a North Carolina hearing aid company, women's apparel stores in New York City, and at drugstores and major retailers throughout the U.S. Reports said that scammers bought gift cards in some instances, in order to resell them for cash.

Around 100 attendees at the APHA event and about 200 people attending the ASHG meeting reported fraud so far, but 21,000 people in total attended the conferences. The convention authority believes the breach did not happen at the conference center, but the cause of the card data theft has yet to be established.

Quote: “After running internal checks and working with our customers, we found that no alleged theft occurred in any MCCA facility [or] appeared to occur at bars and restaurants across the city,” Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Spokesman Mac Daniel said in a statement.

Source: The Boston Globe, “Coventioneers' credit card data stolen in Boston,” Dec. 11, 2013.

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