Costco Data Hacked - Call American Express to replace Credit Card

Costco data breach
Early this week I received a letter from American Express.  The abstract is the following:

"A merchant where you used your American Express Card detected unauthorized access to its data files [...] we believe the merchant's affected data files included your American Express Card account number, your name and other Card information such as the expiration date. Importantly, your social security number was not impacted. [...]"

"[...] you can take the following precautionary steps [...]"

  • "Review your account statements"
  • "Sign up to receive free alerts about unused account activity"
  • "Identity Theft Assistance [...] For more information about Identity Theft Assistance, call us at 1-800-297-7672 or visit" free benefit to American Express Cardmember)
  • "Review your credit reports - To obtain an annual free copy of your credit report by 
    • visiting,
    • all toll-free at 1-877-322-8228
    • or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission website at and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.  
    • The three national credit bureaus provide free annual credit reports only through these methods.

I checked my AMEX Costco credit card account.  There is no suspicious account activity.  I use this card for Costco purchase only.   It is confirmed that Costco has a limited data breach, reported in CNBC.  I contacted American Express to replace my Costco credit card; that would be the safest way to block future suspicious usage of my Costco credit card.  Credit frauds have become sophisticated these days.  Several of my friends got hit.

The fastest fraud I know is around Thanksgiving 2013.  A colleague of mine joined his group of friends to go to Yosemite for a Thanksgiving weekend fun.  When he returned on Monday morning, his Bank of America credit card which was his main credit card was blocked. He was alerted about over $150 spending in a Chevron gas station and spending in other stores.  He did not fill up any gas over the weekend.  He admitted that he used his credit card in some small stores.  He called Bank of America to send him a replacement card, and waited 7 days for the new card.

I would recommend not to use your credit cards in small stores or non-branded gas stations.  Pay cash.  Small stores would like you to pay cash also, so they would not have to pay credit card processing fees.

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