Security Breach P.F. Changs Hits Two San Diego Locations

Identity Theft CITRMS Sheri PainterVicky Sharamito said identity theft has been on her mind an awful lot this year.

“I was part of the Target one; I’ve had more debit cards reissued this year than I have in my whole life,” Sharamito said, half jokingly.

A P.F. Chang’s regular, Sharamito said she was aware of the security breach just weeks ago, during her last visit.

“They were running the credit card by hand,” Sharamito explained.

However, it’s not stopping her from coming to one of her favorite spots in Chula Vista.

“I think I’m just so used to it by now,” Sharamito laughed.

However, not everyone sees things as harmless as Sharamito. A man who spoke with San Diego 6 off camera quickly ran back into his car after he learned of the security breach for the first time. Another woman who was packing her to-go order in her car said she received an email from the restaurant and was well aware of the issue.

According to the Chinese food chain, the issue is contained and was initially brought to their attention last month by the United States Secret Service.

In part, a statement issued by P.F. Chang’s CEO, Rick Federico, confirmed “we have determined that the security of our card processing systems was compromised, and we have reason to believe that the intruder may have stolen some data from certain credit and debit cards that were used during specified time frames at 33 P.F. Chang’s China Bistro branded restaurant locations in the continental United States.”

From October to June, 33 of their 200 locations fell victim to the scam; this includes Chula Vista, Carlsbad, Temecula, and Newport Beach.

Cheryl Reichert, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in San Diego said large corporations can still easily be affected by these scams, despite newer, state of the art security systems.

Reichert said the scammers have reportedly called some of the victims, pretending to be from P.F. Chang’s. Once they read off their credit card information, they’re asking victims to verify the three digit code on the back of their card, something Reichert strongly cautions against.

“In the case of restaurants, keep your receipt and check the charge against the receipt because if you don’t notice P.F. Chang’s is on there twice that might be something a bad guy can slip through pretty easily,” Reichert explained.

It’s something some say they’re adamant about now, especially after what they endured with Target’s security breach.

“I’m very careful; I read you shouldn’t purchase on one computer and check my balance on a different computer,” said a P.F. Chang’s regular, who did not wish to reveal her name. However, she did say she’ll continue to eat at P.F. Chang’s, but will start paying in cash.

Reichert advised people to take advantage of the annual free credit report, and also encouraged consumers to look at their credit card statement before paying the bill.

If you think your credit or debit card was compromised in part of the security breach, you can call 1-877-412-7152 to speak with a representative.

For more information, click here: By Natasha Sweatte-Story Published: Aug 4, 2014 at 10:52 PM PDT

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