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Chrissie Cole
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Hannaford Security Breach Exposes Over 4M Credit, Debit Cards to Fraud

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In one of the largest retailer security breaches in U.S. history, Hannaford Bros. and Sweetbay grocery-store chains, both owned by Delhaize Group SA, discovered a computer hacker stole more than 4 million credit and debit card numbers.

Nearly 2,000 cases of fraud have been tied to the security breach. While credit card numbers were stolen, no personal information was obtained such as names or addresses.

Hannaford launched an investigation after the company discovered unusual credit card activity on February 27. The investigation later revealed the data breach began on December 7, 2007 and wasn’t contained until March 10th. According to the company, the data was illegally accessed during the credit card transmission process.

The exact root of the breach is still unknown, but it apparently affected all 106 Sweetbay supermarkets in Florida and 165 Hannaford stores across the U.S. Northeast. Smaller independent stores that sell Hannaford products were also affected by the breach.

Hannaford’s Chief Executive apologized for the intrusion and any inconveniences that may have been caused. He further stated the company is taking aggressive steps to expand their network security capabilities.

Hannaford and Sweetbay customers are urged to review their credit card and bank statements from the last three months to detect any unusual charges. If fraudulent charges are detected, please call your credit card company and/or bank right away to report the problem.

The company is cooperating with credit and debit card companies to ensure customers who have been affected by the breach are protected. They have also alerted law enforcement to help identify those responsible for hacking the computer system.

Class Action Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Hannaford & Sweetbay Victims

Two class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Hannaford Bros. customers.

The suit alleges Hannaford was “negligent for failing to maintain adequate computer data security of customer credit and debit card data, which was accessed and stolen by a computer hacker,” according to a press release.