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TJX faces lawsuits; congressman wants FTC investigation into hacking, data loss

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TJX Companies, the parent firm of retailers T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, was hit with a flurry of lawsuits this week resulting from hackers breaching company servers.

An unknown number of customers had their personal information stolen in the hacking – which may have been going on for up to three years, according to TJX officials.

Paula Mace, a West Virginia resident, filed the first consumer lawsuit against TJX in federal court in Boston. She is trying to have the suit declared as class action on behalf of anyone who had personal information stolen.

Mace said in the complaint that the breach exposed her to the risk of fraud and identity theft. She is seeking damages of more than $5 million.

Mace claimed TJX was negligent by not having adequate security in place to safeguard customers’ data and failed to notify customers of the breach as soon as it was discovered, according to press reports.

AmeriFirst Bank, which is based in Union Springs, Ala., also filed suit against TJX, seeking to recover the costs of replacing compromised credit cards for affected customers.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, has called for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the hacking, according to a report today in the Boston Globe.

The Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA) said last week that criminals have used the private data for purchases in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Hong Kong and Sweden.

Nearly 60 banks have told the MBA that they’ve been contacted by credit card companies about compromised accounts. That number is likely to grow higher, according to the organization.

The breach affects credit card, debit card, check and merchandise return transaction information for customers of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods and A.J. Wright stores in the United States and Puerto Rico and Winners and HomeSense stores in Canada.

The incident may also affect customers of Bob’s Stores in the U.S. and T.K. Maxx in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Ben Cammarata, TJX chairman, taped a video message on his company’s website addressing concerned customers. He said in a statement that authorities were investigating the incident.

Click here to email Frank Washkuch.

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