Wards didn’t tell consumers about credit card hack

An old name in retail was hit by a modern scourge — a hack of its customers’ credit card numbers — but didn’t inform the consumers, revealing how data breaches might be heavily undercounted even with new notification laws.

At least 51,000 records were exposed in the breach at the parent company of Montgomery Ward. The venerable Wards chain that began in 1872 went out of business in 2001, but in 2004, catalog company Direct Marketing Services Inc., bought the brand name out of bankruptcy. It now runs a Wards.com Web site and six other sites, including three with Sears brands it has acquired: SearsHomeCenter.com, SearsShowplace.com and SearsRoomforKids.com.

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