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Security & privacy

Hackers have your credit card number and personal data if you ate here

Going out to eat is supposed to make our lives easier. No cooking, no cleaning, just eating and moving on with our lives.

There are certainly issues that can come with dining out, but one that we are constantly having to worry about is what cybercriminals are doing to take advantage of us. Most of us pay at the restaurant with some sort of credit or debit card, and even though it’s supposed to be safe, that’s not always the case.

The latest issue is a data breach that has affected the PDQ restaurant chain, which can be found in locations all across the United States.

Did you drop by one of them over the last year or so?

We have just learned of a breach that occurred between May 19, 2017 and April 20, 2018 and impacted every PDQ that was open and operating during that time.

It involved customer names, credit card numbers, expiration dates and cardholder verification value. According to PDQ, it is believed that the hacker got in by using an outside technology vendor’s remote connection tool.

In a statement, PDQ said it was not possible to determine exactly how much or whose data was taken. They did note that if you used a card to pay for your purchase during the timeframe, it’s possible your information was acquired by a hacker.

The company has been investigating the incident and said it is taking measures in order to prevent it from happening again.

@Anton Samsonov |

What you can do following this breach

While it’s possible that your card was not caught up in the breach, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With that in mind, there are certain things you should do and steps you should take in order to limit any possible damage.

Note: Some of these steps are less relevant for this specific breach but are helpful reminders for any time data is stolen.

Keep an eye on your bank accounts 

You should already be frequently checking your bank statements, looking for suspicious activity. It’s even more critical when credit and debit card information has been exposed through a data breach. If you see anything that seems strange, report it immediately. It’s the best way to keep your financial accounts safe. If your card was breached, your bank will issue you a new one.

Set up two-factor authentication 

Two-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, means that to log into your account, you need two ways to prove you are who you say you are. This is an extra layer of security that will help keep your accounts safe. Click here to learn how to set up two-factor authentication.

Investigate your email address 

This is a critical step and it will only take a few seconds of your time. You need to know if your credentials are part of any recent data breach. The best way to find out if you’re impacted is with the Have I Been Pwned website. 

It’s an easy-to-use site with a database of information that hackers and malicious programs have released publicly. It monitors hacker sites and collects new data every five to 10 minutes about the latest breaches. You can even set up alerts to be notified if your email address is impacted in the future. Click here to find out if your email address has been compromised.

Change your password

Whenever you hear news of a data breach, it’s a good idea to change your account passwords. This is especially true if you use the same credentials for multiple websites. If your credentials are stolen from a breach, criminals can test them on other sites to log into those accounts as well. Read this article to help you create hack-proof passwords.

Beware of phishing scams 

Scammers will try and piggyback on data breaches like this. They will create phishing emails, pretending to be from the affected company, hoping to get victims to click on malicious links that could lead to more problems. You need to familiarize yourself with what phishing scams look like so you can avoid falling victim to one. Take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.

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