NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Wawa says a data breach may have compromised thousands of customers’ debit and credit card information.

The breach was discovered on Dec. 10 and dates back to March 4.

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The company says it may have affected 850 locations along the East Coast.

Debit and credit cards that were used inside the stores or at the fuel pumps could have been compromised, but the ATMs were not.

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Wawa said it’s unaware of any unauthorized use of credit cards as a result of the breach.

The CEO apologized saying, “We take this special relationship with you and the protection of your information very seriously.”

“At Wawa, the people who come through our doors every day are not just customers, you are our friends and neighbors, and nothing is more important than honoring and protecting your trust.  Today, 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,” Chris Gheysens said in an open letter.

“I want to reassure you that you will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges on your payment cards related to this incident, as described in the detailed information below.  Please review this entire letter carefully to learn about the resources Wawa is providing and the steps you should take now to protect your information.  

I apologize deeply to all of you, our friends and neighbors, for this incident.  You are my top priority and are critically important to all of the nearly 37,000 associates at Wawa. We take this special relationship with you and the protection of your information very seriously.  I can assure you that throughout this process, everyone at Wawa has followed our longstanding values and has worked quickly and diligently to address this issue and inform our customers as quickly as possible.”

The company says customers should follow these steps:

  • Review Your Payment Card Account Statements. We encourage you to remain vigilant by reviewing your payment card account statements. If you believe there is an unauthorized charge on your payment card, please notify the relevant payment card company by calling the number on the back of the card.  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.
  • Register for Identity Protection Services. We have arranged with Experian to provide potentially impacted customers with one year of identity theft protection and credit monitoring at no charge to you.  Information about these services is available at www.wawa.com/alerts/data-security or call toll-free to 1-844-386-9559.
  • Order a Credit Report. If you enroll in the Experian service (at the phone number above) we are offering, you will have access to activity on your credit report.  In addition, if you are a U.S. resident, you are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies.  To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free at 1-877-322-8228.
  • Review the Reference Guide. The Reference Guide below provides additional resources on the protection of personal information.
  • For More Information. If you have any questions about this issue or enrolling in the credit monitoring services we are offering at no charge to you, please call our dedicated Experian response phone line at 1-844-386-9559.  It is open Monday – Friday, between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm Eastern Time, or Saturday and Sunday, between 11:00 am and 8:00 pm Eastern Time, excluding holidays (which include December 24, December 25, December 31, January 1, and January 20).
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(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)