Chick-fil-A looking into data breach

Published 11:58 pm Saturday, January 3, 2015

Chick-fil-A disclosed details of a possible data breach at an unspecified number of its restaurants and is looking into the matter with authorities and its security arm, a spokesman said Friday.

The Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain received reports of “unusual activity involving payment cards used at a few of our restaurants,” according to a statement posted on its website. Officials with the company didn’t have additional information on the situation beyond the statement, including the number and location of restaurants affected, said Mark Baldwin of the chain’s public relations department in Atlanta.

“We take our obligation to protect consumer information seriously, and we are working with leading IT security firms, law enforcement and our payment industry contacts to determine all of the facts,” read part of the statement.

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The privately-held chain operates about 1,800 locations in 41 states. Vicksburg’s Chick-fil-A location on Halls Ferry Road opened in May 2013. No reports of any unusual activity have been received by the local store, owner/operator Nick Jones said Friday.

Initial reports of a breach were received Dec. 19 and an investigation ensued, the statement read. “It would be premature for us to comment further given the pending investigation, but we will share additional facts as we are able to do so,” it read. The company said it would arrange free identity theft protection for customers affected, including credit monitoring.

If the investigation turns up proof a breach has occurred, customers will not be liable for any fraudulent charges to their credit or debit card accounts, according to the company’s statement. Either Chick-fil-A or banks that issued any affected cards will handle the charges, the company said.

Word of the possible data breach is the latest in a string of hackings worldwide in 2014, most notably at Sony Pictures Entertainment. In August, Community Health Systems, the parent company of River Region Medical Center in Vicksburg, said hackers from China stole the personal information of 4.5 million patients over a five-year period. The breach included patients at its Mississippi holdings, including River Region. CHS has offered to arrange identity theft protection for affected patients.

Chick-fil-A customers are being referred to a third-party service for support and information. The number is 855-398-6439. The company’s call center may be reached at 1-800-404-7196 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.