HARRISBURG Attorney General Linda Kelly today urged Pennsylvania consumers to carefully review their privacy rights related to the sale of customer information gathered by the defunct Borders book store chain."Nearly 50 million former Borders customers, including thousands of Pennsylvania residents, will soon receive an important email notification about the possible transfer of their customer information," Kelly said.

Kelly said the transfer of customer data is part of the sale of assets involving Borders, the second largest book store chain in the United States, which filed for bankruptcy in February 2011. As part of that bankruptcy process, the database of Borders customers is being purchased by the Barnes & Noble chain for nearly $14 million."Borders operated approximately 30 stores in Pennsylvania, so this data transfer has the potential to impact a large number of consumers across the state," Kelly said. "Depending on how you shopped at Borders, the customer data could include your name, email address, telephone number, birthday, credit card information and purchase history."

Kelly explained that the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection has been working with other states to protect consumer privacy during this bankruptcy process. As the result of that effort, all former Borders customers are being given the opportunity to opt out of this data transfer, preventing their customer information from being moved to Barnes & Noble. Kelly said that former Borders customers can prevent their information from being transferred in two ways: By visiting the Barnes & Noble website for instructions" www.bn.com/borders, or by responding to an official notification email being sent by Barnes & Noble to all former Borders customers (though Kelly cautioned consumers to be watchful for fake or "look-alike" emails linked to identity theft scams).

Kelly urged consumers to carefully review the privacy information and instructions included in the email notifications and websites and respond promptly. The email opt out responses must be received within 15 days, while customers using the Barnes & Noble or Borders websites to opt out will have 30 days to respond.

"Whether you wish to allow your customer data to be transferred to Barnes & Noble is a personal choice, but it is important for every consumer to be aware of their right to privacy and their ability to prevent their information from being transferred," Kelly said. For those customers who do allow their information to be transferred, the agreement calls for all of that data to be protected by the Barnes & Noble privacy policy. Finally, Kelly cautioned consumers to be alert for potential email or Internet scams that attempt to capitalize on this announcement."We encourage consumers to verify that they are using the official email notification or website to respond to this program in order to avoid identify theft scams," Kelly said.

Kelly noted that the email notifications that are being sent to former Borders customers will come from Barnes & Noble. Kelly added that consumers can either follow the instructions and links included in the email notification or they can visit the official Barnes & Noble website www.bn.com/borders to opt out from the data transfer."If consumers have any doubts about the authenticity of an email or the Internet links that they are being asked to use, we encourage them to review information posted on our website to help guide them to the correct resources," Kelly said.