Not Again?! P.F. Chang’s Announces Security Breach

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By Consumers Union on Friday, June 13th, 2014

If you ate at the restaurant, here’s our advice

Fast-casual chain restaurant P.F. Chang’s confirmed today that customers’ payment card information may have been stolen when the company fell victim to a data breach.

Until P.F. Chang’s can be sure its computers are safe, visitors to P.F. Chang’s’ restaurants will see old-school manual payment card imprinting devices (aka knuckle busters). That fix may help keep restaurant customers from having their data stolen if they haven’t been to P.F. Chang’s recently.

But what about folks who may have dined there before the data breach was discovered? Here’s some advice:

First, make sure that you do not fall victim to the least bad outcome, the unauthorized use of your payment cards.

  • At the very least, you need to keep a close eye on transactions hitting your accounts. Look out for abnormal charges, now and in the future.
  • If you spot a problematic charge, report it to your credit card company or bank immediately. Your liability is limited if you report the possible fraud pretty much as soon as you notice it.
  • If your debit card was compromised, you may want to get a replacement debit card with a new number in order not only to prevent fraudulent charges but also to keep someone from emptying your bank account. The consumer protections for debit cards are somewhat less robust than for credit cards, so you may be out the funds attributable to disputed transactions until the bank can verify that you are a victim of fraud.
  • Credit card users, who have better protections than debit card users, may also want to ask for a new card in order to avoid fishy charges.

Second, for those who are worried about the rare but very harmful type of fraud where someone opens new accounts in your name using your personal information, see our advice about security freezes.

Finally, as always, watch out for scams – find anti-scam advice here.

Have you been a victim of a security breach? Share your story in the comments section. 

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