Clothing retailer Forever 21 has recently confirmed that it suffered a data breach at an unknown number of its stores between April 3, 2017 and November 18, 2017. While Forever 21 has not switched over to EMV chip credit card technology it does use encryption technology for security purposes with its credit card processing, however, it has been determined that the encryption technology was not always working and therefore an undetermined number of credit cards and debit cards were compromised with information stolen including the card numbers, expiration dates and internal verification codes. In some circumstances, the card holders’ names were also stolen.
For more information about this data breach you can click on this link to Forever 21’s notification to customers about the data breach.
The primary reason for the continuing problem of  credit card data breaches at restaurants, hotels and retail establishments is that many of these companies  are still using credit card and debit card processors for cards with magnetic strips rather than the safer smart EMV chip cards.  Regulations effective October 1, 2015  mandated credit card issuers and retailers switch over to the new smart EMV chip cards or risk increased legal liability, but unfortunately, many companies have been slow to switch to the new card processing equipment.  If smart EMV chip cards had been used at Forever 21, the card information that was stolen would have been worthless, but since they still used the old fashioned magnetic strip cards, Forever 21 and its customers face financial problems from this data breach.
Until credit card issuing companies and brick and mortar stores and businesses that take credit cards switch to the new smart EMV chip cards, this story will, as I predicted  more than two years ago, continue to occur again and again.  As for us, as consumers, the best thing we can do is to refrain from using our debit cards for anything other than an ATM card because consumers whose debit card security has been breached are not protected as much as when a credit card is used for fraudulent purchases.  Also, use your credit card as a chip card whenever possible to avoid the vulnerabilities of the magnetic strip. You also should regularly monitor your credit card statements for indications of fraudulent use.