FutureShop says credit card database secure after hackers create panic

Future Shop, Canada’s largest retailler and e-mail business for electronics, is scrambling to reassure customers about the safety of their credit card information after an e-mail hoax created confusion and panic this week.

On Thursday, company president Kevin Layden issued a statement that "An internal investigation has confirmed that someone gained access to a third-party provider’s records which contained customer e-mail addresses, but no credit card data. We wish to assure our customers that all of Future Shop’s customer credit card data is completely safe and subject to the strictest security measures."

About 10,000 subscribers to the company’s electronic newsletter received a message which seemed to come from Layden. The e-mail warned that the company’s database of sensitive credit care information had been broken open. It advised customers to contact their banks and cancel their credit cards.

And they apparently did so. Banks were swamped with calls about the warning, and many customers did cancel cards.

Some Fifty-plus.net members complained that they received the newsletter after responding to a coupondvertised in the Fifty-Plus.net newsletter this week. When they went to the Future web site, they checked off the request box for Future newsletters and were added to the mailing list.

The "third-party provider" mentioned by Layden is hired to send out bi-weekly newsletters to over 70,000 customers.

Layden says Future Shop encrypts all purchasing card information so it’s unreadable to the server and therefore not accessible to hackers.

The RCMP is investigating.