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Security breach hits dozens of grocery stores

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:43:24 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 26 2013 01:50:25 AM CST
Credit card swipe, shopping

John R. Coughlin/CNN

SPOKANE, Wash. -

At the height of Thanksgiving grocery shopping, dozens of local groceries stores are asking customers to pay cash or check because the URM-run computer network that processes credit and debit card transactions has been compromised by hacking for at least two months.

URM CEO Ray Sprinkle gathered managers from Yoke's, Rosauers, Super 1 Foods, Trading Company, Harvest Foods and Family Foods and Center Place grocery stores Sunday to discuss the breach of security and explain how to move forward with customers.

Yoke's Human Resources department confirmed Monday they are asking customers to use cash or checks for the time being. They have waived ATM fees if customers want to pull out cash and are using a dial-up system to process debit or credit card transactions if that is the only form a customer chooses to use.

Sprinkle said Monday afternoon that on October 31 investigators and a financial institution came to them about the issue, explaining that somehow malware was installed on their computer system and for the last two months every swipe of a debit, credit or EBT card has been compromised.

"Obviously URM is working very diligently to strengthen our controls internally as well as working with our membership to help them secure their systems so that our top priority is the personal and financial information of our consumers that have entrusted us with that and we want to earn that trust back," Sprinkle said.

Sprinkle could not say when the issue will be resolved but did say a team of investigators will be working around the clock until it is fixed.

If you have shopped at these grocery stores in the last two months you should go through your bank statements and look for anything suspicious. Sprinkle could not say what exactly has happened with the credit, debit and EBT numbers due to the ongoing investigation but keeping an eye on your account is a good idea at this point.

URM has also set up a toll free hotline for customers to call and get their questions answered. That number is 877-237-7408.

In the meantime, the grocery stores affected are all doing their best to accommodate customers. Yoke's, for example, is waiving ATM fees to pull out cash. Rosauers is offering 10-percent off your grocery bill as an apology for the inconvenience.

Yoke's, Rosauers and Trading Company do have alternative debit/credit processing systems that are safe for customers to use but the slower system will add time to your grocery shopping trip.