It's official. P.F. Chang's is the most recent big business to suffer a data breach, which could involve your credit or debit cards. Here is part of the statement, from the restaurant chain, that confirmed the breach.
"On Tuesday, June 10, P.F. Chang’s learned of a security compromise that involves credit and debit card data reportedly stolen from some of our restaurants. Immediately, we initiated an investigation with the United States Secret Service and a team of third-party forensics experts to understand the nature and scope of the incident, and while the investigation is still ongoing, we have concluded that data has been compromised."
At this time, the company is not offering any information on how many customers may have been affected, or any details on the scope of the breach. An online security blogger reported the stolen credit cards were used at P.F. Chang's locations between the beginning of March to May 19. He also said the stolen information was spotted on the same site that was selling information stolen from Target last year.
Change in Charge Card Procedure
While the breach is under investigation, P.F. Chang's will be changing how customers use their charge cards at the 209 locations in the United States.
The company will be using a manual credit card imprinting system to protect your personal data. The statement released today also includes an apology from P.F. Chang's CEO Rick Federico.
"We sincerely regret the inconvenience and concern this may cause for our guests," he announced in the written statement.
Protecting Your Accounts
Melanie Duquesnel is the CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Southfield. She says consumers should always be on guard and doing the work it takes to protect their personal account. "You shouldn't wait until something happens. You should be vigilant today. No matter if you shopped at P.F. Chang's, Target, Neiman Marcus or Michael's."
She referenced some of the other high-profile breaches that have been announced in the past year. Many consumers told Ruth to the Rescue it's a drill they are becoming very familiar with.
"You can't stop everything but you do have to be vigilant with your own identification and your own property to make sure that you're doing the best you can to protect yourself." said Colette Jenkins of Detroit.
"Well I always check my bank statements and my credit card statements. I have the access to my phone so I use the app, things like that, so I'm always keeping up on it," said Bradly Luft of Clinton Township.
Safety Precautions You Can Take
Working with the Better Business Bureau in Detroit, Ruth to the Rescue has come up with this list of options you should consider to protect your accounts.
1) ALWAYS check your monthly account statements and react to any suspicious charges immediately.
2) You can also be even more vigilant, by checking your account online once a week, or however often makes you feel comfortable.
3) Avoid using your debit card as a charge card. If that information is hacked, it puts your money at risk, instead of the credit card company's money.
4) Designate different credit cards for different types of charges. You can create a so-called "dirty card" that is more easily canceled if it gets hacked.
5) If you believe your card information may have been compromised, you can ask your credit card company for a new card or put a fraud alert on the account.
6) You can also work with your credit company to send you alerts if charges are above or below a certain dollar amount. Those alerts might help you spot a fraudulent charge more quickly.
7) Be sure to check your credit report at least once a year. You want to make sure no one is setting up fraudulent accounts in your name.
P.F. Chang's Entire Statement and Link to Updates
Here is the entire statement from P.F. Chang's, including the website established to update customers:
On Tuesday, June 10, P.F. Chang’s learned of a security compromise that involves credit and debit card data reportedly stolen from some of our restaurants. Immediately, we initiated an investigation with the United States Secret Service and a team of third-party forensics experts to understand the nature and scope of the incident, and while the investigation is still ongoing, we have concluded that data has been compromised.
At P.F. Chang’s, the safety and security of our guests’ payment information is a top priority. Therefore, we have moved to a manual credit card imprinting system for all P.F. Chang’s China Bistro branded restaurants located in the continental United States. This ensures our guests can still use their credit and debit cards safely in our restaurants as our investigation continues.
We have also established a dedicated public website, www.pfchangs.com/security, for guests to receive updates and answers to their questions.
Because we are still in the preliminary stages of our investigation, we encourage our guests to be vigilant about checking their credit card and bank statements. Any suspected fraudulent activity should be immediately reported to their card company.
We sincerely regret the inconvenience and concern this may cause for our guests.