Tuesday September 17, 2002

Credit card scam exposes  

hole in e-commerce security 

SAN FRANCISCO — A mysterious credit card scam involving more than 100,000 bogus Internet transactions has delivered another alarming reminder about online commerce’s security weaknesses. 

Although no money was actually transferred in the scheme, more than 60,000 of the illicit transactions received authorization codes during a con job exposed late last week. 

The authorization codes verified the validity of those account numbers, opening the door for more widespread theft had the ruse not been detected. 

All the affected account numbers have been deactivated and investigations have been opened by federal authorities, said John Rante, president of Online Data Corp., a Chicago-based credit card processor that authorized the bogus transactions. 

“People have nothing to be concerned about,” Rante said. “We are cooperating with the authorities and we will catch the people behind this.”