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A data breach at Supervalu includes five Hornbacher’s grocery stores in Fargo and Moorhead and 60 Cub Foods grocery and liquor stores in Minnesota, most in the Twin Cities area.

Hackers accessed a network that processes Supervalu transactions, with account numbers, expiration dates, cardholder names and other information possibly stolen.  The breach occurred between June 22 and July 17, 2014.

Supervalu has yet to determine if any cardholder data was actually stolen and said that there is no evidence of any customer data being misused.  However, the grocery retailer said it announced the criminal computer intrusion out of an abundance of caution.

Supervalu has established a call center to help answer customer questions about the data breach and identity protection services.   Customers can reach the call center at 855-731-6018.  Customers may also get information at Supervalu’s website at http://www.supervalu.com/security.html under the Consumer Security Advisory section.  Supervalu is offering customers whose payment cards may have been affected 12 months of complimentary consumer identity protection services through AllClear ID.

For American Federal Cardholders

American Federal is continuing to monitor the Supervalu data breach.  As new information becomes available, we will evaluate the risk and determine what additional precautions our clients may want to consider.

In the meantime, if you wish to have an American Federal debit or credit card re-issued, please contact your local American Federal Banker.

Customers are not responsible for counterfeit fraudulent charges on their credit or debit cards that are timely reported.   If customers become aware of such activity, they should contact their local American Federal Banker immediately.

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT

Routinely Check Bank and Credit Card Statements – Be vigilant and closely review your bank and credit card statements, credit reports and other financial information for any evidence of identity theft or other unusual or unauthorized activity.

Don’t focus just on large transactions.   Cyber thieves often hope that small purchases will fly under the radar.  If you don’t challenge small charges, thieves could become bolder later.

As part of your vigilance, order a free credit report each year.  Under U.S. law,  you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus.  To obtain a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll free, 877-322-8228.

Know the Sender – Be cautious of suspicious emails from unknown sources. Phishing scams use unsolicited email messages aimed at encouraging recipients to respond and divulge personal information.  The messages are becoming more targeted, often involving a reference to someone you know or an activity you have engaged in, perhaps from information gleaned from social media sites.  Phishing scams are also used to plant computer viruses.

Don’t Click Suspicious Email Links or Attachments – Don’t open emails, if you don’t know the sender.  Never click a link or open an attachment in an email if it is suspicious or from a sender you don’t know.  Verify a link before you act.

Be Cautious with Social Media – Interactions on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, can be used to target you.  Seemingly innocent information that consumers post on these websites can provide insights that criminals can then exploit.

Don’t Provide Personal Information to Solicitors – Phone callers sometime promise vacations, discounted services or winning prize offers to get you to divulge personal information.  But you won’t always know why they want your information or who really is callling.  Just say no.

Secure your Computer and Encrypt your Personal Data – Don’t leave computers and mobile devices with sensitive records unattended.  Be certain your computer and mobile devices have the proper security controls and up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software, current malware protection, the latest patches for Internet browsers and a firewall.  Ensure your personal information is properly encrypted while in transit and while in storage on your computer.

Safeguard Paper Copies of Sensitive Documents – Shred documents, including bills and payment stubs, before throwing them away.  Drop outgoing mail in secure mailboxes only.

Change Passwords Often – Regularly change passwords for websites that contain sensitive information, like financial, credit card, insurance or health data.  Never use the same password across multiple sites.  If hackers compromise one system, you do not want them having the key to unlock all your other accounts.

Create Strong Passwords – Passwords should involve a mix of numbers, symbols and both UPPER- and lower-case letters.  Do not create passwords obviously associated with you.  Stay away from passwords based on dictionary words.  Hackers can pre-calculate the encrypted forms of whole dictionaries and easily reverse engineer your password.  Consider creating an anagram from a sentence, and use symbols, numbers and UPPER and lower case letters to make it more complicated.  For example, the sentence “One time in class I ate some glue” could be the password: 1TiC!AsG.

Use Multiple Authentication – If a website offers additional security features like secondary or two-factor authentication, enable them.

Use your Debit Card like a Credit Card – When you are paying for a purchase with a debit card and you are given the option of making either a debit or a credit transaction, opt for credit.  This means you will sign for the purchase, rather than input your PIN number.  Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, federal law limits your responsibility for unauthorized charges to $50 on credit purchases.  However, many card companies have zero-liability protections for signature-based transactions which go beyond the federal law and cover the full amount of an unauthorized transaction provided cardholders exercise some reasonable care standards.

Be Cautious about Paying with Wire Transfers – Thieves pursuing scams ask to be paid by wire transfers more often than credit cards.  And once the money is sent with a wire transfer, it’s gone.  By contrast, credit- and even debit-card transactions offer important protections.

Check your Children’s Credit – Stolen personal information of children can go undetected for years.  Victims might not discover a problem until they are old enough to apply for a student loan or a car.  Consider placing a security freeze on your child’s account, or even your own, by calling any of the three main credit bureaus.  A freeze will prevent unauthorized charges and account openings; however, you will need to remove the freeze temporarily if you need to apply for credit or borrow money through a loan.