This release from the Globe speaks for itself. This ain't good, folks. When I called the 888 number at the bottom of the release to check on my status, I was told that the paper would be getting back to folks affected by this in the next 48 hours.


BOSTON, Jan. 31, 2006 – The Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette are notifying their home-delivery subscribers who pay by credit or bank card that some customers’ confidential credit card numbers were inadvertently printed on the backs of routing slips attached to newspaper bundles that were sent to retailers and newspaper carriers in the Worcester area this past weekend.


Information on up to 240,000 customers may have been distributed.


The Telegram & Gazette is also notifying its subscribers that routing information for the personal checks of 1,100 subscribers may have been inadvertently released with some of the bundles.


“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.   “Immediate steps have been taken internally at the Globe and Telegram & Gazette to increase security around credit card reporting.  We regret the disruption and inconvenience that this incident may cause.”


Payment information was mistakenly included on the reverse side of individual routing slips that were attached to up to 9000 bundles of Sunday Telegram & Gazette newspapers.  No single customer name was distributed on any more than two bundles.  The routing slips are typically discarded shortly after the bundles are delivered.


The incident took place when discarded internal reports were inadvertently recycled as the paper for printing the routing slips.  The Telegram & Gazette has immediately discontinued the practice of reusing paper in this manner. Enhanced security measures have been put into place to assure the confidentiality of customer information at both newspapers. 


Representatives of the Globe and Telegram & Gazette are recovering as many of the routing slips as can be located, although most of the slips are likely to have been discarded.  To date there have been no reports of misuse of the payment card data, although the newspapers will continue to monitor the situation.


The Globe has contacted the four major credit card companies  -- American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa -- to advise them of the situation.  Likewise, the Globe is contacting the banks of affected subscribers.


The Boston Globe and The Worcester Telegram & Gazette urge subscribers to contact their credit card companies if they are concerned about unauthorized transactions.


The Globe and the Telegram & Gazette have set up a hotline for concerned customers who may have questions regarding their accounts. Customer service representatives will be able to tell customers if their information was included in the inadvertent distribution.   That number is 1-888-665-2644.

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