Consumer Warrior Clark Howard shares advice for Wawa customers following data breach

Jacksonville, FL — If you've stopped for gas at Wawa, you may have been affected by a data breach.

WOKV's Consumer Warrior Clark Howard says this means every debit card and credit card used at Wawa's, both inside the store and to pay at the pump, may have been compromised.

"This is really serious. When you think how big Wawa is in Northeast Florida now, and that for some period of time yet to be determined, that every Wawa customer's debit or credit card is now in the hands of a crook is really unsettling. The crooks have your name, they have your card number, they have your expiration date, and they may or may not have your PIN if you used a debit card at the terminal inside the store or at pay at the pump," says Howard.

So, if you've been a customer at Wawa, Howard says you need to take action.

"Every Wawa customer needs to look very closely at their checking account statement, if they used a debit card, or their credit card statement, if they've used a debit or credit card at Wawa, over who knows the period of time. And it'll probably emerge in the next week or two, how long the data breach has been going on. But the important thing for you to do, is to check and see if there are weird charges that you don't recognize on your credit card statement or from your checking account," says Howard.

Howard says going forward, you should never, ever use a debit card to pay at the pump.

"The pay at the pump system is not secure. Most stations will not have security on pay at the pump until late in 2020. And so the consequence is, even a not very sophisticated criminal can steal your number and your PIN at pay at the pump. The criminals have gotten so good at this, they've figured out how to infiltrate payment systems at gas stations without ever having to set foot at the gas station itself," explains Howard.

He says if you want to use your debit card to get gas, you need to pay inside at the cash register, as it offers another layer of protection.

If you want to pay at the pump, he recommends using your credit card instead.

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