Business & Economy

MasterCard investigates report of California DMV breach

File: People wait in line outside of the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2009.
File: People wait in line outside of the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2009.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

MasterCard says it is investigating reports of a potential breach at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. was the first to report the possible breach, which it says involved online payments from Aug. 2, 2013, to Jan. 31, 2014.

Seth Eisen, a Mastercard spokesman, tells KPCC the breach is not with MasterCard's systems.

Eisen says MasterCard has sent out alerts to member banks. He advises consumers to review their accounts and contact their card issuer for assistance.

The California DMV issued a statement, blaming its external card processing firm for the breach:

“The Department of Motor Vehicles has been alerted by law enforcement authorities to a potential security issue within its credit card processing services.

There is no evidence at this time of a direct breach of the DMV’s computer system. However, out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the sensitive information of California drivers, the DMV has opened an investigation into any potential security breach in conjunction with state and federal law enforcement.

In its investigation, the department is performing a forensic review of its systems and seeking information regarding any potential breach from both the external vendor that processes the DMV’s credit card transactions and the credit card companies themselves.

Protecting the identity and security of our customers is our highest priority and we fully understand the potential impact any breach of security can have. The department has implemented heightened monitoring of all DMV website traffic and credit card transactions. We will immediately notify any affected DMV customers as quickly as possible if we find any issue. DMV customers are also encouraged to closely monitor their credit card statements and transactions for any fraudulent or unusual activity and report it to their credit card company immediately.

DMV customers can continue to pay with cash, check, or money order in person at their local DMV office. Californians with questions about fraud or identity theft can access important information on through this DMV Identity Fraud Factsheet.

We will continue to provide consumer updates on our website as we gather more factual information."