December 2, 2013 in Business, City

Cyber-attacks blocked at regional grocer

URM says its safe to use credit cards at Rosauers, Yokes and others
By The Spokesman-Review
 
URM Stores has opened a call center for customers who have questions about credit and debit card information stolen from shoppers at its grocery stores. The number is (877) 237-7408. Lines are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

A massive cyber-attack targeting credit cards at local grocery stores has been blocked.

URM Stores, which includes Rosauers Supermarkets and Yoke’s Fresh Markets, announced Monday night that modern credit card systems were placed back online Monday night after extra security systems were implemented.

But those measures won’t protect customers who used their cards at the stores prior to Nov. 25. Officials stress that anyone who used a credit or debit card at Rosauers or other URM-affiliated store prior to that date should pay close attention to bank statements.

“We’d like to offer our apologizes to our customers for their frustration and inconvenience,” Ray Sprinkle, CEO of URM Stores, said late Monday. “Our customer support has just been unbelievable.”

Citing an open investigation, Sprinkle declined to provide details of what has been learned so far about the attack. He said URM has hired “leading national” companies to work with law enforcement.

A news release from the company said that with the attack blocked, the focus will switch to pinpointing which stores were affected and when it began. Companies that issued cards with numbers that were most likely to be stolen will be notified.

URM Stores is a Spokane-based wholesaler that processes a large share of the electronic payments made by shoppers at Yoke’s, Rosauers, Super 1 Foods, Family Foods, CenterPlace Market, and Trading Company stores. URM owns Rosauers and is partially owned by the other stores it serves.

Three days before Thanksgiving, URM Stores recommended that its stores only accept cash and checks to put a halt to an attack as reports mounted from banks and credit unions that noticed fraudulent purchases on accounts of shoppers who used cards at URM Stores.

A Secret Service agent involved in the investigation told The Spokesman-Review last month that the case is the largest outbreak of credit card fraud he’s seen in nine years in Spokane.

For the past week, Rosauers stores put plastic bags over its new credit card readers in each cashiers aisle but accepted cards through a slower-but-safer dial-up connection. Rosauers offered 10 percent discounts to make up for the inconvenience.

Sprinkle said sales at URM Stores over the holiday period showed “mixed results” with sales up in some stores and down in others.


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