Madeline Schmitt & Jennifer Lindgren| |

This story was updated at 9:40 p.m. on Jan. 25

IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – Irving-based Michaels Stores, Inc. said it is investigating a possible security breach of customer data.

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A spokesman for the arts and craft store said the company recently learned of possible fraudulent activity on debit and credit cards used at its stores.

Michaels is now working with the Secret Service and data experts to determine if there is a threat to customers’ private information.

“While we have not confirmed a compromise to our systems, we believe it is in the best interest of our customers to alert them to this potential issue so they can take steps to protect themselves, for example, by reviewing their payment card account statements for unauthorized charges,” CEO Chuck Rubin said.

So far, Michaels spokespersons will not comment on the potential number of customers affected, or the time frame of the possible data breach.

CBS 11 News called the Michaels 1-800 customer service number to see what consumers are being told.
One representative told us they could not comment on whether customer information was compromised.  In a separate call, the representative referred us to a non-working phone number.

Michaels customer Jessica Benson says the possibility of a credit card breach will not keep her from shopping.

She says, perhaps too often, people assume they will be protected.

“I think now people automatically think the banks will monitor their bank account and call and say ‘we’ve frozen your credit card,’ and that doesn’t always happen,” Benson said.

Matt Yarbrough, a former U.S. attorney who now specializes in cyber crime cases in private practice, says Michaels’ press release, even preemptive, is a smart move.

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“Companies need to get ahead of the problem. Get a plan in place. Get a data breach team. Know how you’re going to react.  It’s only a matter of time before you get hacked,” Yarbrough said.

Michaels said it will post information and updates about the investigation to the store’s website:

There are currently more than 1,040 Michaels Arts and Crafts Stores in the U.S. and Canada.

The possible security breach comes only days after Dallas-based Neiman Marcus told customers more than 1 million credit and debit cards may have been compromised in a breach last year.

Similarly, in December, Target said its customers’ information had been compromised. At first, Target said 40 million customers’ data was at risk, but later upped the number to 70 million.

The FBI has warned US retailers to prepare for more cyber attacks after discovering about 20 hacking cases in the past year that involved the same kind of malicious software used against target in the holiday shopping season.

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