Newspapers Accidentally Release 240K Credit Card Numbers

The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette said slips containing the names and credit card numbers of as many as 240,000 subscribers of both newspapers were accidentally delivered with bundles of papers last weekend in Worcester.

Officials of the newspapers, both owned by the New York Times Co., said Tuesday they were notifying customers of the mistake.

"We deeply value the trust our subscribers place in us and we are working diligently to remedy this unfortunate situation," said Richard H. Gilman, publisher of The Boston Globe, in a written statement. "Immediate steps have been taken internally at the Globe and Telegram & Gazette to increase security around credit card reporting."

The Telegram & Gazette said the slips also contained routing information for 1,100 of its customers who pay by check.

The financial data was on the back side of paper that had inadvertently been recycled and used for routing slips in 9,000 bundles of the Sunday Telegram & Gazette distributed to retailers and newspaper carriers, the newspapers said in a written statement.

On Monday a merchant noticed the names and credit card numbers on a routing slip and called the newspapers.

"There have been no reports of any unauthorized uses of credit card information," Globe Vice president Al Larkin said Tuesday evening.

Newspaper officials said they are trying to recover as many of the routing slips as possible, though many have already been thrown away by merchants.

The Telegram & Gazette has stopped recycling paper that includes customer data, officials said. The company has notified American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa and any banks whose customers may be affected.

The newspapers are asking concerned customers to call a toll-free number: 888-665-2644.