Schnucks: Source of credit card problem found

Saturday, March 30, 2013 | 2:10 p.m. CDT; updated 4:19 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 30, 2013

ST. LOUIS — A credit card fraud problem at Schnucks grocery stores has been traced to a "cyberattack" and the chain has taken steps to block unauthorized access in the future, the company announced Saturday.

Schnuck Markets Inc., based in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights, said in a news release that a computer forensic firm it hired discovered that a computer code was recording the magnetic stripe data on the back of payment cards. The company said the problem has been fixed.

"Our customers can continue using credit and debit cards at our stores," said chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck in a written statement. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers, and we thank each of them for their patience while we worked hard to investigate their concerns."

The chain learned March 15 that some customers had noticed unauthorized charges for credit cards they used at Schnucks. In some cases, transactions reached thousands of dollars. Authorities said many of the unauthorized charges were at out-of-state big box stores.

While the source of the fraud was under investigation, Schnucks encouraged shoppers to pay with cash or checks.

Schuck Markets' CEO said the company is cooperating with law enforcement, the Missouri Attorney General's Office, and credit card companies to "determine the scope and magnitude of this crime and apprehend those individuals making fraudulent purchases."

Schnuck Markets operates 100 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

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