Law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating a possible payment card breach at several Chick-fil-A restaurants. The restaurant released a press release on New Year’s Eve announcing the investigation and the subsequent steps being taken by the company to protect customer’s information. An independent IT contractor has also been hired to investigate the fraud charges. The extent of the possible breach and whether customers’ contact information was compromised was not revealed by the company.
The suspicious payment card activity was first detected by Chick-fil-A on December 19. The locations of the restaurants that were believed to be affected were not specified in the press release. Chick-fil-A stated that more information would be released to the public and to potentially affected customers as the investigation proceeds. Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander said in a statement, “We want to assure our customers we are working hard to investigate these events and will share additions facts as we are able to do so.”
The company is urging customers to monitor their bank accounts for fraudulent charges. Anyone who has purchased items from Chick-fil-A and notices suspicious payment card transactions on their accounts should call 1-855-398-6439. If a breach is ultimately substantiated by the investigation, the company has stated that it will pay for free identity protection services and credit monitoring for any customers affected by the breach.
The Atlanta-based restaurant is just the latest business to be affected by this kind of security breach. In the past year, several other retailers have experienced significant data breaches of their payment systems. National retail chain Target reported a payment card breach that cost the company and financial institutions almost $500 million in card replacement costs and other expenses. Home Depot, Michaels, AOL, and Neiman Marcus have also been the subject of investigations relating to payment card information breaches.
During the holiday season, tens of millions of Americans use their credit and debit cards at multiple retailers and restaurants around the nation. Each point of contact between the customer, the company, and the banks or credit card companies issuing the payments is a potential point for hackers to attack and steal customer information. It is important for every customer that uses one of these payment cards to routinely check their statements to ensure that no fraudulent activity is occurring with their account.