Nearly 1/5th of Wendy’s Locations in North America Have Been Hacked

wendys fast food public relations

Wendy’s issued a statement last week that 1,025 of their approximately 5,700 stores in their North American locations had financial information of their customers hacked, stealing credit and debit card numbers, names, expiration dates, and codes on the cards. The hack originated late in the fall of 2015. So far some of the customers’ cards have been used to make purchases at stores other than Wendy’s, such as gift cards and purchases of less than $100 at a time.

Lack of Transparency from Wendy’s

Since Wendy’s did not make the problem public until January but have continued investigating the matter, at least one customer discovered her debit card was used by someone other than herself, her bank reimbursed her the funds and issued a new card. She was not aware of the hack, so she later made new purchases at Wendy’s with the new card and the information on that card was also stolen and used.

In their recent statement, Wendy’s advised customers to look at their credit card or bank accounts carefully and examine them for any fraudulent purchases. CEO Todd Penegor said, “We are committed to protecting our customers and keeping them informed. We sincerely apologize to anyone who has been inconvenienced as a result of these highly sophisticated, criminal cyberattacks involving some Wendy’s restaurants. We have conducted a rigorous investigation to understand what has occurred and apply those learnings to further strengthen our data security measures.”

Wendy’s PR Crisis

Wendy’s has taken the right steps dealing with this PR crisis, advising their customers in January, then again in May and then last week, each time updating customers with what they had learned. As of May, they were only aware of 300 of their restaurants having been hacked, but in June they discovered two separate types of malware in their system and the number of locations affected was “considerably higher.”

If you think your information may have been hacked, you can check at Wendys for a list of the sites hacked. If you used a card at one of those locations, Wendy’s is offering a free credit monitoring service for one year.  Another good PR choice by Wendy’s.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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