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U.S. Senate subcommittee sets hearing on consumer data security

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[January 28, 2014]  WASHINGTON (Reuters) The U.S. Senate banking panel has scheduled a subcommittee hearing for next week on safeguarding consumers' financial information following the theft of data at retailers such as Target Corp and Neiman Marcus, the committee said on Monday.

Witnesses at the subcommittee on national security and international trade and finance hearing next Monday will include officials from the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, the American Bankers Association and National Retail Federation, the committee said in a statement.

A data breach over the holiday shopping season at Target, the third-largest U.S. retailer, resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records with customer information such as addresses and telephone numbers.

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus has also disclosed a data breach that compromised data from about 1.1 million cards. Michaels Stores Inc, the biggest U.S. arts and crafts retailer, said it was investigating a possible security breach on its payment card network.

The incidents have raised the stakes for data security discussions in Congress and have caused banks and retailers to argue about whose job it is to protect consumers from cyber attacks.

On Monday, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urged shoppers to monitor their accounts for unauthorized charges and alert their banks or card providers immediately if they suspect fraud.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; editing by Eric Walsh)

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