St. Louis-based grocery store chain Schnucks now says that 2.4 million credit and debit cards of its customers may have been compromised over a three-month period.
The two Springfield stores are among the 79 stores where cards may have been affected between December and March. Fraudulent charges have come from around the world.
The company first learned on March 15 of questionable activity and began an investigation on March 19. Schnucks said it pinpointed the problem on March 28 and executed a plan to contain it within 36 hours.
Many customers have questioned why they weren’t informed earlier. Schnucks says the breach began in December. (AP)
The following is a press release from Schnucks:
ST. LOUIS – Leaders of St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, Inc., today announced that between December 2012 and March 29, 2013, approximately 2.4 million credit and debit cards used at 79 of its 100 stores may have been compromised. The company emphasizes that only the card number and expiration date would have been accessed – not the cardholder’s name, address or any other identifying information.
Schnucks has posted a list of the 79 stores and specific dates for each store at www.schnucks.com. In addition, Schnucks has distributed a timeline of the actions taken to investigate, find, contain, and share information about the cyber-attack, as well as a personal video message from Chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck.
“On behalf of myself, the Schnuck family, and all of our 15,000 teammates, I apologize to everyone affected by this incident,” said Scott Schnuck. “Over the years, technology has helped us deliver superior customer service, but it also introduces risks that we have actively worked to manage through compliance audits, encryption technology and various other security measures.”
“We’ve worked hard to provide a secure transaction environment for our customers and, today I make a personal pledge to you that we will be relentless in maintaining the security of our payment processing system. We expect that the actions we have taken and will take in the future will send a clear signal that our customers may continue to trust us,” said Schnuck.
Schnucks has worked with its payment processor to make sure all potentially affected card numbers are sent to the credit card companies so that they may continue sending alerts to the issuing banks. Those banks will then be able to take steps to protect their cardholders, such as adding enhanced transaction monitoring or reissuing a new card. Many banks have already taken these steps.
“Customers have asked me if it is safe to shop at Schnucks,” continued Schnuck. “Yes, we believe it is, and we will work hard to keep it that way.”
Schnucks has created a dedicated call center for customers if they have additional questions about what happened and steps they can take to protect themselves. Please call 1-888-414-8022, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and through the weekend Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Schnucks provided the Secret Service and FBI with information about the methods and tools used by the attacker and has worked and will continue to partner with law enforcement to apprehend those responsible.
Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnuck Markets, Inc. operates 100 stores (including five Logli and six Hilander stores) and 96 in-store pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. Follow Schnucks on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Schnucks.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- How do I know if my card was compromised? If you used your card at any one of the 79 affected stores between December 2012 and March 29, 2013, your card could have been accessed. We have been working with our payment processor to provide all potentially affected card numbers to the credit card companies so that they may send alerts to the card issuing banks. Those banks will then be able to take steps to protect their cardholders, such as adding enhanced transaction monitoring or reissuing a new card if these measures have not been taken already. Many banks have already taken these steps.
- What personal information may have been affected? The only data accessed were card numbers and expiration dates—the data did not include cardholder names, addresses, or other identifying information.
- Is it safe to use my card at Schnucks? Yes, we believe it is safe — the issue has been identified and contained. You may continue to use your credit and debit cards at our stores. It is important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as perfect security and no card processing environment is guaranteed to be 100 percent safe, but you can be assured that we have acted to prevent this issue going forward.
- I experienced fraud after you claim the issue was contained. Why? I only used my card at Schnucks after you said the issue was contained. I’ve just been told that there is fraud on my card. Why? Even though we contained the issue on March 30, if you used your card at any one of the 79 affected stores between December 2012 and March 29, 2013, your card could have been accessed. If your card was reissued and then you used it at one of the 79 stores through March 29, your new card could have been accessed. So even though we contained the issue going forward, any card that was previously accessed and not replaced since containment of the issue on March 30 could still experience fraud. Groups who steal credit cards from merchants will often wait and then sell the stolen credit cards in batches over time.Be sure to monitor your account or proactively contact the bank, credit union, or other financial institution that issued your card. (The phone number to call is usually on the back of the card). We are continuing to work with our payment processor to provide all cards involved to the credit card companies so that they can issue alerts to the issuing banks. Those issuing banks can apply enhanced monitoring techniques or cancel and reissue the cards to protect their cardholders if they have not already done so. We are also working with law enforcement to apprehend those responsible. Federal law may limit your liability for unauthorized charges. You can obtain more information about this from the FTC’s Consumer Protection website (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards).
- Can I still experience fraud on my card even though the issue is contained? Be sure to monitor your account or proactively contact the bank, credit union, or other financial institution that issued your card. (The phone number to call is usually on the back of the card). We are continuing to work with our payment processor to provide all cards involved to the credit card companies so that they can issue alerts to the issuing banks. Those issuing banks can apply enhanced monitoring techniques or cancel and reissue the cards to protect their cardholders if they have not already done so. We are also working with law enforcement to apprehend those responsible. Federal law may limit your liability for unauthorized charges. You can obtain more information about this from the FTC’s Consumer Protection website (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards).
- Will Schnucks or my financial institution ever call me and ask for personal information? We are aware of reports that scammers have attempted to take advantage of this issue by contacting people who may shop at Schnucks and requesting personal information (such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers) under the guise of investigating this incident. Schnucks will never call, e-mail, or text you to obtain such sensitive personal information, nor do we believe that any financial institution would either. Please immediately report any such attempts to your local police department.
- Why did you wait until now to make this announcement? It was important that we acquired all of the facts. A cyber-attack is not like a bank robbery where you know immediately when it occurred and who was affected. The investigation of a cyber-attack requires painstaking analysis of digital evidence that takes time in order to determine what happened. Since we first received notice of this issue, our team and the computer forensics experts we hired have been working non-stop to find and contain the issue. The forensic investigation firm found the first indication of an issue on March 28, we contained the issue by March 30, and we have been working to identify affected stores and card numbers since then. From the outset, we have been communicating reliable facts and useful information as they became available.
- I have experienced fraud on my credit card. What do I do? Have you notified the company that issued your credit or debit card to let them know of any unauthorized charges? The number to call is usually on the back of the card. Federal law may limit your liability for unauthorized charges. You can obtain more information about this from the FTC’s Consumer Protection website (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards) or www.consumer.ftc.gov/
- What if I have out-of-pocket expenses related to this issue? If you incurred card reissuance fees from your bank or fraudulent charges that were not forgiven or reimbursed, please mail a request for consideration of reimbursement with documentation of the expense to our corporate office:
Schnuck Markets, Inc.
11420 Lackland Road
St. Louis, MO 63146
Attention: Claims Department
- Will someone steal my identity? Stolen credit card information is generally used to make fraudulent charges, not for true identity theft. Customers should inspect their credit card statement regularly and if customers suspect their cards may have been compromised, they should immediately contact their financial institution. We also recommend that you remain vigilant even if you do not find an issue at this time and that you monitor your credit reports. You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, directly from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To order your annual free report please visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll free at 1-877-322-8228, or directly contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies:
|EquifaxPO Box 740241Atlanta, GA 30374
|ExperianPO Box 9554Allen, TX 75013
|TransUnionPO Box 6790Fullerton, CA 92834