Important Member Alert: Wawa Data Breach

Wawa locations were found to have undergone a major data breach between March 4, 2019 and December 12, 2019 due to malware and anyone who used a card during this time period at any Wawa location may be at risk.

Chris Gheysens, CEO of Wawa – released the following statement about the data breach:  “I am very sorry to share with you that Wawa has experienced a data security incident.  Our information security team discovered malware on Wawa payment processing servers on December 10, 2019, and contained it by December 12, 2019.  This malware affected customer payment card information used at potentially all Wawa locations beginning at different points in time after March 4, 2019 and until it was contained.  At this time, we believe this malware no longer poses a risk to Wawa customers using payment cards at Wawa, and this malware never posed a risk to our ATM cash machines. Debit card PIN numbers, credit card CVV2 numbers, other PIN numbers, and driver’s license information used to verify age restricted purchases were not affected by this malware.  If you did not use a payment card at a Wawa in-store payment terminal or fuel dispenser during the relevant time frame, your information was not affected by this malware.  At this time, we are not aware of any unauthorized use of any payment card information as a result of this incident.”

  • View the entire alert message from Wawa’s CEO here.

If you visited any Wawa location during this time period and used a First Financial card, we urge you to monitor your First Financial account.  You can visit a branch location to replace your debit card, or contact our Member Relationship Center at 732.312.1500 to have a new Debit Card ordered due to suspicious activity on your account.  For First Financial credit cards, please call 866.820.3808 to receive a replacement card.

Enroll your First Financial Debit Card in Visa Purchase Alerts – you’ll get an email each time your Debit Card is used over an amount you set, when your card is used outside the country, or when your card is used to make a purchase online or over the phone.

As always, First Financial continues to monitor our member accounts for suspicious activity. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please give us a call at 732.312.1500 or email us at info@firstffcu.com.

Debit vs Credit Cards: Which is safer to swipe?

holiday-credit-or-debitDuring a data breach where fraudulent transactions occur, debit card users could face much bigger headaches than credit card users.

That’s because debit and credit cards are treated differently by consumer protection laws. Under federal law, your personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card can’t exceed $50. But if a fraudster uses your debit card, you could be liable for $500 or more, depending on how quickly you report it.

“I know people love their debit cards. But man oh man, they are loaded with holes when it comes to fraud,” said John Ulzheimer, credit expert at CreditSesame.com, a credit management website.

Plus, if someone uses your credit card, the charge is often credited back to your account immediately after it’s reported, Ulzheimer said. Yet, if a crook uses your debit card, not only can they drain your bank account, but it can take up to two weeks for the financial institution to investigate the fraud and reimburse your account.

“In the meantime, you might have to pay your rent, your utilities and other bills,” said Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The organization recommends that consumers stick to credit cards as much as possible.

Whichever card you decide to swipe, here are ways to protect yourself from scammers.

Be vigilant with your accounts: The Target hack is just the latest in a long history of data breaches, and it likely won’t be the last.

As a result, you should check your debit and credit account activity at least every few days and keep an eye out for any unfamiliar transactions. If you notice anything fishy, notify your financial instituion or credit card company immediately.

“Waiting until the end of the month to check out your credit card statement for fraudulent use is a relic of the past,” Ulzheimer said. “Fraud is a real-time crime, and we as consumers have to be constantly engaged.”

Set your own fraud controls: Financial institutions have their own internal fraud controls, but some transactions can slip through the cracks, said Al Pascual, senior analyst of security risk and fraud at Javelin Strategy & Research.

Many financial institutions will let you set alerts for account transactions. Even better, some allow you to block transactions that are out of the ordinary for you, such as for online purchases at a certain kind of retailer or for any purchases over $500.

“We believe that consumers are going to know best as to how to protect their account,” he said. “They know their own behaviors.

Watch out for fraud hotspots: You should be especially wary of using a debit card online and at retailers more vulnerable to fraud.

Gas stations and ATMs are hotspots for so-called “skimmers,” or machines that scammers install to capture your card information. Watch out for ATM parts that look unusual and always cover your hand when typing your PIN in case a camera is watching, said Shirley Inscoe, a senior analyst with the Aite Group.

Don’t let your guard down: If you think your information has been compromised, don’t assume everything’s fine after a few months. Stolen card information is often sold to a variety of groups on the black market who may hold onto it for months or even years.

“Many times these fraud rings will wait until the news dies down and people have forgotten about it before they use that data,” Inscoe said. “It may not be used until next winter, so it really is a good idea for people to monitor their activity.”

If you fall victim to ID Theft, don’t panic – First Financial is here to help! Report the incident regarding any of your First Financial accounts immediately, by calling us at 732.312.1500 or emailing info@firstffcu.com

*Article by Melanie Hicken of Yahoo Finance – click here to view the article source.