P.F. Chang's recently fell victim to a major security breach that compromised customer payment information, the restaurant chain has confirmed. But alarmingly, it wasn't even Chang's that discovered the intrusion; the United States Secret Service alerted the company that there was a problem on June 10th, one day after credit and debit card numbers began appearing for sale on an underground website. P.F. Chang's says it's cooperating with the Secret Service to uncover the hack's breadth and pinpoint when it first began. It's turned to "specialized data privacy counsel and forensics experts" to assist with the investigation. Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs was first to report the incident.
It's probably time to call your bank
The Secret Service has directly confirmed that cards used at the restaurant were stolen during the breach. But P.F. Chang's claims it doesn't yet know exactly which cards were involved, so it's encouraging customers to keep a close eye on account activity and immediately report any instances of fraud. To be frank, it may just be best to get out in front of this and request a new card from your bank if you've eaten there recently — especially if sensitive card data is already being distributed online. Using that stolen information, fraudsters can re-encode your personal payment details onto a new card and potentially go on a spending spree.
At least during the investigation, the restaurant isn't willing to trust the same credit card machines that were compromised. Instead, P.F. Chang's has called in old-fashioned, manual card imprinting machines that you normally only see when a retailer's computer systems are down. "This ensures our guests can still use their credit and debit cards safely in our restaurants as our investigation continues," the company said. P.F. Changs should be commended for not taking any additional risks, but upcoming patrons are in for a strange trip down memory lane. A website has been set up where customers can keep up with the latest developments.