A class action lawsuit was filed today in US District Court in Boston accusing TJX Cos. of negligence for failing to maintain adequate security of customer credit-and debit-card data and failing to publicly announce the intrusion for a month.
The suit was filed on behalf of Paula G. Mace of West Virginia who had her debit card information stolen from TJX's computer system. Two law firms, including Stern Shapiro Wessberg & Garin of Boston, are seeking credit-card monitoring services for affected customers and any damages incurred by the class, according to partner Jonathan Shapiro.
Earlier today TJX chairman Ben Cammarata delivered a video statement, speaking out for the first time since the Framingham discounter disclosed a hacker stole customers' personal data from its computer system.
In the video posted on TJX's website, Cammarata said the company would not provide credit monitoring. "Based on the type of data involved in the breach of our systems, we don't believe that such monitoring will be meaningful to customers," Cammarata said.
Cammarata, in the video and in full-page advertisements in New England newspapers, tried to clarify why the company waited more than a month to talk about the incident and to reassure customers that it's safe to shop at TJX, which runs more than 2,500 stores, including T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and other stores.
"By delaying a public announcement, with the help of top security experts, we were able to contain the problem and further strengthen our computer network to prevent further intrusion," Cammarata wrote in an ad in the Sunday Boston Globe. "Therefore, we believe that we were acting in the best interest of our customers."
TJX disclosed on Jan. 17 that a hacker pilfered credit and debit card numbers, and driver's license numbers from its computer system in what could be one of the biggest losses of data.
The Massachusetts Bankers Association last week said several banks had reported fraud connected to the TJX security breach for unauthorized purchases made in Florida, Georgia, and Louisana in the United States, and Hong Kong and Sweden overseas.
Banks have re-issued hundreds of thousands of cards related to the incident.
(By Jenn Abelson, Globe staff)