Thousands of Wawa customers warned about huge data breach; how to protect yourself

Wawa convenience stores are beloved along the East Coast for their tasty meals and gourmet coffee, but the company’s many loyal customers are dealing with some bad news this week as Wawa announced a huge data breach.

Thousands of customers who used debit and credit cards at Wawa stores this year may be impacted.

“Our information security team discovered malware on Wawa payment processing servers on Dec. 10, 2019, and contained it by Dec. 12, 2019,” Wawa’s CEO Chris Gheysens said in a statement.

“This malware affected customer payment card information used at potentially all Wawa locations beginning at different points in time after March 4, 2019 and until it was contained.”

Gheysens said the malware was collecting credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and cardholder names.

Payments at fuel pumps and in-store payments were impacted, but ATM cash machines were not.

“I apologize deeply to all of you, our friends and neighbors, for this incident,” said Gheysens. “You are my top priority and are critically important to all of the nearly 37,000 associates at Wawa.”

How customers can protect themselves

The company recommended that customers pay close attention to their account statements and watch for any fraudulent charges.

“We have also arranged for a dedicated toll-free call center (1-844-386-9559) to answer customer questions and offer credit monitoring and identity theft protection without charge to anyone whose information may have been involved,” Gheysens said.

Customers whose information may have been involved should consider these recommendations:

  • Register for identity protection services: Wawa has arranged one year of identity theft protection and credit monitoring for free for customers. Enroll online or contact Experian at 1-844-386-9559.
  • Review your payment card account statements: If there is an unauthorized charge on your payment card, notify the card company. Under federal law and card company rules, customers who notify their payment card company in a timely manner upon discovering fraudulent charges will not be responsible for those charges.
  • Order a credit report: Those enrolled in the free Experian service will have access to credit report activity. U.S. residents are entitled to one free credit report every year. Order the free credit report online or call at 1-877-322-8228.

Customers who suspect they were victims of identity theft should remain vigilant and consider following the steps in Wawa’s reference guide.

Law enforcement agencies are investigating the breach, and Wawa hired a forensics firm to conduct its own investigation.

Wawa has more than 800 stores with locations in D.C. and six states, including Maryland and Virginia.

“I can assure you that throughout this process, everyone at Wawa has followed our longstanding values and has worked quickly and diligently to address this issue and inform our customers as quickly as possible,” said Gheysens.

“We take this special relationship with you and the protection of your information very seriously.”

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up