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Schnucks: Credit Card Fraud Source “Found and Contained”

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI)– Schnucks announced Saturday that it has “found and contained” the issue behind the reports of unauthorized access to payments from credit and debit cards. The chain of grocery stores says they are taking action to block any further access.

How wide spread was the problem?  It took only ten minutes in the parking lot of the Maryland Heights store Saturday morning to find someone who had been victimized.

"I went and checked my credit card and low and behold, there was a $350 charge from out in California," Jeri Emahiser said.  "So I called my credit card company and they took care of that plus they found two more that had been charged yesterday."

A computer forensic firm that Schnucks hired found evidence of a computer code that would capture the magnetic strip data on the back of payment cards.  Now, the store says that issue has been identified and contained. An investigation will now attempt to determe for how long the issue existed and which stores were affected.  The grocery chain says customers can continue to use credit and debit cards at Schnucks.

But how confident are customers in the solution to a problem Schnucks says they first knew about more than two weeks earlier?

"I’m not that confident," a woman identifying herself as Jean told us.  "They said that other businesses have been affected also so now I’m using cash wherever I go."

If there's any good news for Schnucks, it's the fact many blame the world we live in for the problems more than the individual supermarket chain.

Asked if it's tough to be comfortable, Linda Trujillo said, "It really is because you hear about this everywhere. I don’t feel safe just putting a credit card on a computer.  I’m just not comfortable at all with that."

Emahiser, the victim we spoke to, agrees. "In this day and age, who knows?  There’s so many people out there who know so much about how to get into these programs I don’t think we’re ever going to be totally safe.  They just have to be vigilant all the time and so do we as consumers.

If customers suspect their cards may have been compromised, they should immediately contact their credit or debit card company, typically a bank or credit union.

This is the chain's full statement:

SCHNUCKS ANNOUNCES CREDIT CARD ISSUE FOUND AND CONTAINED

ST. LOUIS – Schnucks announced today that it has “found and contained” the issue behind the reports of unauthorized access to payment card information at Schnucks, and it has taken comprehensive measures designed to block any further access.  The computer forensic firm that Schnucks engaged found evidence of computer code that would capture the magnetic stripe data on the back of payment cards.  Now that the issue has been identified and contained, the investigation will turn to determining for how long the issue existed and which stores were affected.  Customers can continue to use credit and debit cards at Schnucks.

“After an extensive review, we confirmed that Schnucks was the victim of a cyberattack,” said Chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck.  “We have identified the issue and taken comprehensive measures to contain the incident.  We are cooperating with law enforcement, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, and the credit card companies to determine the scope and magnitude of this crime and apprehend those individuals making fraudulent purchases.  We have been told by the computer forensics expert that the security enhancements we have implemented in the last 48 hours are designed to block this attack from continuing.  Our customers can continue using credit and debit cards at our stores.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers, and we thank each of them for their patience while we worked hard to investigate their concerns.”

Schnucks advises that if customers suspect their cards may have been compromised, they should immediately contact their credit or debit card company, typically a bank or credit union.

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.

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ANSWERS TO ANTICIPATED QUESTIONS

Is it safe to use my card at Schnucks?
The issue has been identified and contained. The comprehensive measures enacted in the last 48 hours are designed to block this attack from continuing.  Customers may continue to use their credit and debit cards at our stores.

How many customers were affected? How many cards compromised?
Now that we have identified and contained the issue, the investigation will focus on determining for how long and at which stores this occurred.

What can I do if my card might be affected?

Schnucks advises customers to immediately contact the bank, credit union, or other financial institution that issued their credit or debit card.  The phone number to call is usually on the back of the card.

Now that the issue is contained, could I still experience fraud?

Even though we have contained the attack, any card that was already accessed could still experience fraud.  When we identify the cards that may have been accessed, we will work with the credit card companies to notify the banks that issued those cards so those banks can take preventative measures.  Even if you have not noticed fraudulent charges, your bank may still cancel and reissue your card.

Why did you wait until now to make this announcement?
Since Schnucks 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.  We made this announcement as soon as we finished the work to contain the issue.

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.  For helpful information from the Federal Trade Commission on how federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges please visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards.  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:

Equifax

PO Box 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374

www.equifax.com

1-800-525-6285

Experian

PO Box 9554

Allen, TX 75013

www.experian.com

1-888-397-3742

TransUnion

PO Box 6790

Fullerton, CA 92834

www.transunion.com

1-800-680-7289

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