Popular Chicago-area restaurants among those affected by credit card data breach

New information has just been released to help Landry's customers determine if they may be impacted by a credit card data breach.

Following a December report of suspicious activity on cards used at some Landry's-owned restaurant locations, an investigation was launched that determined criminal attackers were able to install a program on payment card processing devices at certain locations.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Chicago: May 8 to Dec. 3, 2015
Capis Italian Kitchen in Chicago: Nov. 16, 2014
Claim Jumper in Lombard: May 5 to Dec. 3, 2015
Mastro's in Chicago: May 5 to Dec. 3, 2015
McCormick & Schmick's
- Chesnut Street location in Chicago: May 9, 2014 to Dec. 3, 2015
- East Wacker Street location in Chicago: May 9, 2014 to March 14, 2015; May 8 to Dec. 3, 2015
- Oak Brook location: May 9, 2014 to March 14, 2015; May 8 to Dec. 3, 2015
- East Wacker Place location: May 10, 2014 to March 14, 2015; May 8 to Dec. 3, 2015
- State Street location: May 10, 2014 to March 14, 2015; May 8 to Dec. 3, 2015
- Schaumburg location: May 5 to Dec. 3, 2015
Rainforest Cafe
- Downtown Chicago location: May 8 to Dec. 3, 2015
- Woodfield Mall location in Schaumburg: May 8 to Dec. 3, 2015

The size of the breach is not known.

"It takes about eight months to discover a data breach. This one has been going on for quite a while," said Cahn Tran, CEO of Rippleshot, a company that helps banks and merchants prevent and detect data breaches.

The Houston-based company first detected the breach in mid-December but just now disclosed its affected locations. In a statement, Landry's apologized for the breach.

"Enhanced security measures, including end-to-end encryption, have been implemented to prevent a similar issue from occurring in the future," the statement said.

Tran says it usually takes about four months after a breach occurs for the credit card to be used fraudulently.

"In 2015, one out of every three consumers is affected by a data breach," Tran said. "The top three MCC codes for data breaches are no surprise - grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations."

Tran says in today's world, data breaches are an inevitable fact of life. Before Landry's it was Home Depot and Target. Credit card information is often stolen right at the moment a user swipes their card. The new chip and signature cards were supposed to solve that issue.

Landry's Incorporated owns more than 500 restaurants, including many local favorites, from Mortons and MoCormick & Schmick's, to Bubba Gump's and the Rainforest Cafe. Customers can now visit landrysinc.com to determine more locations and dates involved in the breach.

If you used a payment card at an affected location during its at-risk window, it's recommend that you remain vigilant to the possibility of fraud by reviewing your payment card statements for any unauthorized activity. You should immediately report any unauthorized charges to your card issuer because payment card rules generally provide that cardholders are not responsible for unauthorized charges reported in a timely manner.

If you have any questions, you can call 877-238-2151 (U.S. and Canada), Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm EST.

You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To order your annual free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228. Contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting companies is as follows:

Equifax, PO Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374, www.equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285
Experian, PO Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com,1-888-397-3742
TransUnion, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022-2000, www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or have reason to believe your personal information has been misused, you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Attorney General's office in your state. Contact information for the Federal Trade Commission is as follows:
Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580, 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338), www.ftc.gov/idtheft

You can obtain information from these sources about steps an individual can take to avoid identity theft as well as information about fraud alerts and security freezes. You should also contact your local law enforcement authorities and file a police report. Obtain a copy of the police report in case you are asked to provide copies to creditors to correct your records.