• Kyodo

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Credit card information belonging to 56 people that was stolen from a gas station affiliated with Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. was used to make purchases on the Internet, the oil company said Thursday.

About 1,600 sales slips issued between Jan. 5 and Oct. 30, 2004, were stolen from the gas station in Totsuka Ward in Yokohama, according to the Tokyo-based company, which has asked police to investigate the case.

About 698 of the stolen slips carried customers’ names as well as their credit card numbers and expiration dates. They were kept in unlocked boxes at the gas station, Showa Shell said.

On March 7, a credit card issuer contacted Showa Shell to inform the firm that about 138 requests to purchase merchandise over the Internet had been made using credit card data from 56 customers who had used their cards at the gas station on Oct. 30, the oil distributor said.

The card issuer was alerted after a series of inquiries in January and February from customers who were not aware of having made certain purchases. It suspended transactions that appeared to have been made using the stolen card data, and all cardholders were protected.

Showa Shell Sekiyu sent letters providing an apology and explanation to the customers and vowed to boost security measures.

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