Data Breach Expert’s Pragmatic View on PF Chang’s News

Data Breach Expert Alert: The restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro has reported a security breach that may have led to the theft of customer data from credit and debit cards used at 33 restaurants.  In addition to stolen card numbers, the intruder may have gotten  names and expiration dates as well.  The breach took place between October 19th of 2013 and June 11th of 2014 and supposedly has affected 33 locations.

If P.F. Changs follows in the footsteps of the recent Target breach, you can expect an expanding number of stores and customers affected over the coming days. It seems that the data breach playbook suggests that companies initially under-report the severity of the security lapse in order to keep customer shock and defection to a minimum. Once the news cycle has worn out the topic (generally 3-5 days), the breached company generally issues news on additional stores affected, customer data lost, increases in the actual data affected, etc. Let’s hope P.F. Chang’s does a better job of communicating damage the first time.

If you believe you have visited any of these locations during the affected time period, I suggest that you cancel your credit card and get a new number. At this point, it’s easier to do that several times a year than it is to recover from actual fraud. You may also call P.F. Changs directly at 1-877-412-7152.

John Sileo is a data breach expert and keynote speaker on avoiding disasters like P.F. Changs. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is President of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.