P.F. Chang's patrons urged to check credit report

Possible data breach announced this week

As P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is investigating a possible data breach that may have resulted in the theft of credit and debit card information from its chain of restaurants across the country, many are checking their credit.

Security blogger Brian Krebs reports thousands of cards went up for sale June 9 on underground store Rescator, which sold millions of cards stolen during the Target breach late last year.

Krebs contacted several banks about the card data and found that all the recently posted cards were used at P.F. Chang’s restaurants from March through May 19. There are more than 200 restaurants worldwide, and it’s unclear how many locations may have been affected by the possible breach.

The company has not confirmed a breach but said it is investigating the claims, according to a statement sent to Krebs. As of June 10, the card information is priced from $18 to $140 per card, depending on the network and if it’s a premium or standard card, Krebs reports.

The card information comes from the magnetic stripe on the back of credit and debit cards and can be cloned on fake cards, allowing fraudsters to make purchases with that data until it’s rendered invalid, either by the issuer or a consumer who notices unauthorized use of his or her account.

If you’re worried about a potential data breach exposing you to identity theft, you should monitor your credit and debit card accounts on a regular basis for fraudulent activity. Contact your financial institution as soon as you notice any charges you did not make.

Any major, unexpected changes in your score could signal identity theft, and you should pull your credit reports immediately to check for signs of fraud — such as new accounts that were opened using your information, or past-due charges that you didn’t make to an existing card you haven’t used in awhile.