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OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES OVER CUSTOMER DATA THEFT

Source: Ohio Attorney General's Office

Posted on June 16, 2005

      Attorney General Jim Petro today asked a court to order Ohio-based shoe retailer Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW, INC.) to individually notify each customer whose personal information may have been stolen recently from DSW computer files. Ohio is the first state to sue the retailer over one of the biggest security breaches of its kind in the nation.

      "DSW has acknowledged that a security breach led to the loss of more than one million customers' checking and credit information, yet the company has not individually notified each customer to warn them about this mishap," Petro said. "As we have said repeatedly, we see no reason why DSW, working with the credit card companies and the underlying issuing banks, cannot arrange for direct notification of every affected consumer."

      He said the consumers should be put on notice to more carefully review their accounts and take steps to ensure the safety of their accounts and personal information. As part of a lawsuit he filed against the company today in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Petro asked the court to order DSW to directly notify in writing approximately 700,000 customers affected by the security breach and to find that the company's failure to do so is a violation of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act.

      DSW, based in Columbus with retail stores in more than 30 states, including Ohio, reported in early March that computer files containing customers' personal information it retained from consumer transactions from mid-November 2004 to mid-February of this year had been stolen. The news prompted responses from Petro admonishing the company to notify all affected customers. (See Ohio Attorney General's Office press releases for March 10, 2005 and April 22, 2005)

      The stolen data included DSW customers' names, credit card numbers, debit card numbers, checking account numbers, and driver's license numbers information the customers had provided to the company in the course of nearly 1.5 million transactions at 108 stores in Ohio and elsewhere, according to Petro's complaint. The complaint said the company's failure to contact each customer is an "unfair or deceptive act or practice" in violation of section 1345.02(A) of the Ohio Revised Code.

      For Additional Information on this Press Release, contact: Mark Anthony, Attorney General's Office, at (614) 466-3840




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