Data theft is a rapidly growing segment of white collar crime in Hawaii and elsewhere. In January, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) reported more than 9,000 Hawaiian consumers may be affected by a recent data theft at luxury goods seller Neiman Marcus.
In the past several months, theft of electronic information made headlines when hackers believed to be located in Eastern Europe penetrated the computer systems of three retail outlets in the United States. Malware installed on the data networks of Target Brands, Neiman Marcus and Michaels craft stores harvested stored customer data and point-of-sale information.
While Michael's investigates the intrusion, Neiman Marcus and Target continue to notify customers and offer free credit monitoring to affected customers. In Hawaii, the DCCA is encouraging Hawaiians to take steps to protect themselves from financial and other losses because of data theft.
For anyone who suspects their financial or identifying information may have been compromised, consider the following steps:
- Carefully review credit card statements for unauthorized purchases.
- Speak with your bank or credit card company about issuing you a new charge card and canceling the compromised credit account.
- Take advantage of free credit monitoring if offered.
Recent reports suggest the Target computer network was breached when hackers invaded the electronic billing system of a vendor who offers heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) services to Target.
In Hawaii, identity theft can result in state or federal charges punishable by fines, penalties, and jail or prison time. As rates of cybercrime increase, so do the effects on consumers and those accused of these offenses. If charged with white collar crime in Honolulu, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.