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AF Smith warns customers of data breach fear

AF Smith: suspended sales via its Apple website amid a data security breach fear

Office supplies firm AF Smith has suspended sales on its Apple website amid fears over credit-card hacking.

A message sent to customers by the firm said that it was contacting them “regarding recent fraudulent activity in Bermuda involving credit cards”.

A spokesman for Butterfield Bank said: “Butterfield confirms that it has been notified by the merchant in question of a potential card data security breach.

“Butterfield has investigated and identified a handful of card accounts for which information may have been exposed.

“Those cards have been blocked and we are in the process of contacting cardholders to arrange for the replacement of their cards.”

He added: “We remind customers that they are never liable for unauthorised charges, and to report any suspicious transactions to us immediately.”

AF Smith’s message to customers stated: “At this time we do not have confirmation of a data breach on our servers but we would like to be proactive in notifying you, our valued customer.”

The firm said it had been alerted to “recent fraudulent activity in Bermuda involving credit cards” by its bank.

It added: “AF Smith has taken all necessary precautions to keep our website secure.

“Acting with caution, we have suspended all purchases on our apple.afsmith.bm website pending further investigation into this matter with the banks.”

And the firm said customers should check their credit card statements for unauthorised purchases using their cards.

John Zakszewska, digital marketing specialist at AF Smith, stressed there was no evidence that its systems had been breached.

He added: “We don’t even store or see any credit cards through our website. They are handed off to the bank’s gateway.”

And he said: “We are investigating as we speak — we don’t have much more information at this time.”

One worried customer said: “When you’re warned to look at your credit card statement, it makes you concerned.”

The customer, who asked not to be named, said he was a regular buyer of iTunes cards online.

He added: “It does make you wonder about the safety of buying things online. I would like to see AF Smith be a bit more explicit about what’s happened.

“They’ve only told us so much and it leaves you feeling concerned.”

AF Smith told customers: “If you believe that there is a compromise or a fraudulent charge please contact your bank immediately.”

The company said that iTunes customers could still buy iTunes cards at the retail store off Woodlands Road in Hamilton, or from partner firms, including Somerset Pharmacy, Treats of Bermuda and Caesar’s Pharmacy.

Users of the apple.afsmith.bm site were yesterday met with a message that said: “We are currently working on our website and as a result we will not be processing any orders as a result.”