The Wawa convenience store chain says a data breach may have collected debit and credit card information from thousands of customers.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa Inc. said Thursday that its information security team discovered malware on its payment processing servers on Dec. 10 and stopped the breach on Dec 12. The company believes the malware was collecting card numbers, customer names and other data as early as March 4.
The company said it doesn’t yet know how many customers were affected. Wawa said it’s also unaware of any unauthorized use of credit cards as a result of the breach.
The breach affected all of Wawa’s 850 locations, which stretch along the East Coast from Pennsylvania to Florida. In-store payments and payments at fuel dispensers were affected, but ATM machines were not.
Wawa says it’s notifying customers and offering free credit-card monitoring and identity-theft prevention services to anyone whose information may have been collected. Police are investigating, and the company has also hired a forensics firm to conduct an internal investigation.
If you think you may have been affected, here’s what to do:
Wawa will pay for a year of identity theft protection and credit monitoring. Go to the Experian IdentityWorks website to enroll: https://www.experianidworks.com/credit or call 1-844-386-9559, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays or 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends, excluding (Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1 and 20). The activation code for the free service is 4H2H3T9H6.
The breach appears to have begun as early as March 2019, so look back at statements for anything that looks like an unauthorized charge. If you find anything, call the number on the back of your payment card to notify the company. Under federal law and card company rules, customers who notify their payment card company in a timely manner upon discovering fraudulent charges will not be responsible for those charges.
Upon enrolling in the Experian service (Step 1), you will have access to activity on your credit report. Plus, U.S. residents are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free at 1-877-322-8228.
Wawa is hardly alone. Companies around the world have been hit with massive data breaches that have exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of consumers in recent years. Businesses are starting to spend more money on data security, but consumers are still at risk, privacy experts say. Paying in cash is one way to avoid having your personal information stolen.