City Harvest Says Donor Information Could Be At Risk After Security Breach


Ingrid Kelley

It's a charitable organization dedicated to reaching out to hungry New Yorkers, but after a potential breach of the organization's information system City Harvest is also reaching out to its donors with a warning that their personal information may have been compromised.

"I would have to say that I was surprised. I wasn't expecting it," said Rajath Vikram, an assignment editor at NY1.

Vikram received a letter from City Harvest that read in part, "We are currently investigating a potential improper access of systems that contained credit card information of our donors for donations made prior to April 25th 2007."

"They were totally open about it. They wanted me to know every little thing about what they could tell me. I was impressed with that," said Vikram. "I thought that it was nice that they wanted to let their donors know that their security may have been compromised and that they were doing everything they could to make sure my information wasn't spread around."

The charitable organization is advising donors who received the letter to contact their credit card companies immediately.

So the question that many want to know is how this breach in security happened in the first place?

"That's undergoing investigation at the moment, so that's not something we're able to comment on right now," said City Harvest Executive Director Jilly Stephens.

But the Manhattan district attorney's office says they are investigating the incident as a possible data breach. They say City Harvest is cooperating.

Some New Yorkers NY1 spoke with say this is exactly why they do not use a credit card when supporting their favorite charities.

"The problem when you donate with a credit card or you give credit card information to an organization, chances are that information could end up on a list and be transferred to other organizations, sold. And you never really know where your information is going," said Walter Ocner, a New Yorker who makes charitable donations.

City Harvest says current and future donors should feel comfortable donated with them, and that without their help, more New Yorkers could go hungry.

"We value our donors tremendously," said . We can't do the work we do feeding hungry New Yorkers without them."

If donors have any questions for City Harvest, contact them at (917)351-8763.

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