Financial info leaks online from area credit card transactions

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A WTVM viewer tipped us off to a website that had personal data, including credit card information, about him, and 50 other people.

The list was a Google cache with a list of 60 customers of The Loft and Comedy Club in downtown Columbus that purchased tickets at the club from 2004 to 2008.

One victim said, "My phone number, my address, my mailing address, and all that stuff is out there.  And apparently, if you found it, there is a lot of other people that have found it."

Names, addresses, phone numbers and complete credit card information were included for each customer.

We do not know how long the information has been on the World Wide Web, or who has seen the information.  But, this victim is right, it was very easy for us to go down the list and call each person.

Another victim says he orders things on line all the time, "100% of my Christmas shopping last year was online.  Typically, I do not do online business with smaller companies. This is one of the times I hesitated and probably should have gone with my gut feeling."

Although he said he feels lucky that the card and account are no longer open, he wants to know how the information was leaked. Manager at the Loft tells us they do not know the answer.

The President of the Columbus Better Business Bureau, Leonard Crain, Jr. said it is the company's responsibility to notify all of the people whose information has been compromised. "Companies that are handling individual personal financial info are responsible and liable for how that info is handled, whether it is physical or over the Internet."

The Loft would not talk to us on camera, but did say that they just found out today about the problem and are working to contact all victims.  As of now, all of their websites have been shut down.

Although the Loft says the problem is now fixed, one victim told News Leader Nine that they would not be seeing him there any time soon, "I will not even spend cash down there no more.  I will find another place to find entertainment."

The Loft tells us that they are working with Google to get the site taken down completely.

The BBB reminds consumers that it is important to trust any company where you use a credit card, but it is ultimately the company's responsibility to shred data, train employees, and encrypt the transfer of any personal data

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