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Attorney General Coalition Pushes for Data Protections

The group is urging credit card companies and private businesses to adopt Europay, MasterCard and Visa specifications for more security for consumers.

(TNS) -- Connecticut State Attorney General George Jepsen announced Monday that he is urging major credit-card processors nationwide to roll out new technology as soon as possible to help reduce data breaches affecting consumers.

Jepsen and eight other attorneys general from across the nation said in a letter Monday to companies including MasterCard, Visa, Discover Financial Services and Bank of America that they would like to see chip and PIN technology implementation speeded up. These technologies are considered to be more secure than the magnetic-stripe methods normally employed for credit cards as well as the chip-and-signature Europay, MasterCard and Visa specifications currently being implemented.

"Over the last few years, breaches at major retailers that involved credit and debit card information have really shown a giant spotlight at the inherent weakness and vulnerability of magnetic strip cards even when the cards are lost or stolen," Jepsen said in a statement.

The attorneys general said local businesses face financial and reputational risks stemming from loss of consumer trust after breaches.

Jepsen said other countries have proven the advantages of chip-and-PIN cards.

"Consumers in Connecticut and across the country deserve access to the absolute best that the industry has to offer," Jepsen said. "Right now, that is chip and PIN, and I believe it's my responsibility to advocate on their behalf for it."

Unfortunately, according to Jepsen, most U.S. chip cards rely on signatures rather than PINs, and these are easier to forge or copy.

Jepsen's office reported that it received about 515 data breach notifications during the last fiscal year affecting about 2.5 million Connecticut citizens.

"Since 2003, the United States has consistently accounted for about half of the global loss from fraudulent transactions, despite being responsible for only a quarter of total card payments," according to a release.

Jepsen was joined in his letter by attorneys general from Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.

©2015 The Day (New London, Conn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.