Bebe confirms data breach hit U.S. retail stores

December 5, 2014, 2:18 PM UTC
Consumer Confidence Hits Five-Year High
People ride the escalator past a Bebe Stores Inc. shop at The Shops at Columbus Circle mall in New York, U.S., on Monday, May 27, 2013. Consumer confidence climbed to the highest level in more than five years and home prices advanced by the most in seven as the housing rebound gives the U.S. economy a lift. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Victor J. Blue — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bebe Stores has confirmed a data breach hit the women’s retailer’s payments system over a two-and-a-half week period last month, the latest retailer stung by an attack that focused on obtaining payment card information.

The retailer said it recently discovered “suspicious activity on computers that operate the payment processing system for its stores.” It believes the hackers, which focused on data from payment cards swiped at Bebe’s (BEBE) stores, could have obtained data for cards used between November 8 and November 26.

Bebe, which has more than 200 stores and generated $425 million in sales for its latest fiscal year, declined to say how many customers were potentially affected by the security breach. The company’s spokesman confirmed Bebe has retained an independent forensics investigative firm to help mitigate the situation.

Cyberattacks are an increasing concern for retailers and their customers. The data breaches have resulted in a wide swath of companies confirming their systems have been attacked. Recent data breaches have stung Home Depot (HD), Target (TGT) and EBay (EBAY). Retailers can be saddled with millions of dollars in expenses in the aftermath of the attack, expenses that include legal fees, as well as IT and credit monitoring costs. Some retailers, like Home Depot, face customer lawsuits.

The attack at Bebe, which had previously been speculated, could have included illegal access to cardholder data, including account numbers, expiration dates and verification codes. Bebe said its website, as well as its stores in Canada and other markets abroad, weren’t affected.

Bebe advised customers that used their cards at the retailer’s stores during the November time frame should review their account statements for any unauthorized activity. If any unauthorized charges occurred, Bebe advised customers contact the bank that issued the card. Bebe said it is offering credit monitoring services for one year to customers who made a purchase using a payment card at the company’s U.S., Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands stores during the affected time frame last month.

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