Fast Food Fraud

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 8:20 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction

We all know fast food isn’t good for us, but now we have an entirely new reason to second guess a trip through the drive-thru. Earlier this year the hamburger chain, Wendy’s, reported what they’re calling ‘unusual activity’ on credit cards used at their restaurants located in the US. Now, several months onwards, the security firm hired to investigate the claims have come up with some answers – but not nearly enough.

The slow process is partly due to the fact that many of the restaurants are owned by independent franchisees. Wendy’s is America’s 5th largest fast food restaurant in terms of sales, and it has approximately 5,800 franchise locations across North America. According to their investigation, fewer than 300 of those restaurants were targeted in a malware attack that compromised the point of sale (POS) system. The breach started sometime late last year, and some financial institutions have recorded continued fraud reports on affected accounts as late as April of 2016.

Though no reports of how many customers affected by the breach have been published, Wendy’s confirms the malware has been disabled and removed from the corrupted POS. They are currently working with its security firm, federal law enforcement, and credit card companies in order to locate the source of the malware and complete their investigation.

If it concludes anything like Target’s credit card breach, then Wendy’s could be looking at a hefty fine in reparations totalling somewhere in the millions. Recall American Thanksgiving of 2013, when malware was installed in Target’s POS and stole 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million customer records that included contact details. Since then the company has been sentenced to repay $19 million to banks.

Many of us think nothing of heading out for lunch and tapping our credit cards to pay for our meal. Unfortunately, attacks targeting large-chain businesses are on the rise. While there’s no way of knowing which company’s POS is infected before you visit, there are ways of mitigating – if not preventing – the effects of identity fraud. You should be aware of any of the accounts under your name, especially the ones you use on a daily basis at places like fast food restaurants or department stores. When you keep an eye on the transactions of these accounts, you can quickly identity fraudulent charges and alert your bank of any unusual activity before it gets too serious.

Another way to protect yourself from possible attacks is by limiting the access you allow to your personal information – both digitally and physically. For many of us, the Internet has replaced a lot of services that, in the past, we would have obtained in-person at a brick and mortar store or organization. Though it’s made life easier now that we can do everything from banking or ordering food online, it’s also made it more difficult to safeguard our personal information. Be aware of the websites that you frequent and only share your contact and financial information to trusted services with verified sites and advanced firewalls.

For those services with enduring physical copies of your transactions – things like taxes, utility bills, and any other receipt or piece of mail that contains account numbers and contact details – you should be equally vigilant. Store those records that you need to keep in a safe place within your home and don’t just throw away those documents you want to get rid of. Any piece of paper with your personal information on it should be properly disposed of through our secured mobile shredding service. Our mobile shredding trucks will incinerate these papers so that any information is impossible to recover.

We like to think of our shredding service as a part of any healthy information diet. We can’t help but visit the Wendy’s of the world every once in a while, but if you take the appropriate steps to protecting your identity’s health, these fast food trips won’t cause any undue harm. Stay on top of your transactions and make sure to call us to schedule your document shredding appointment today.

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