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Credit card breach affects 60 national restaurant chains – here's what you need to know

Landry's Inc. operates more than 60 chains, including Joe's Crab Shack, Rainforest Cafe and Morton's steakhouses.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

Landry's, Inc. might not be a household name, but there's a good chance that you've dined at one of the group's 60-plus restaurant chains at least once.

The Houston-based company behind family-friendly restaurants like Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Morton's steakhouses, Joe's Crab Shack and more issued a warning after it was discovered that a 2019 data breach may have compromised customers' credit card information.

Morton's Steakhouse was one among many Landry's restaurant chains possibly affected by a data breach in 2019.Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

In its statement, the company said the security breach may have affected customers who paid with credit cards at its restaurants between March 13, 2019 and Oct. 17, 2019. A smaller group of restaurant locations may have also been comprised as early as January 2018.

In addition to owning hundreds of restaurants, Landry's also operates eateries at hotel chains, such as Holiday Inn Resorts and Westin.

Unlike other recent data breaches that leaked millions of people's information, Landry's says the number of consumers who were affected is likely relatively low since the breach happened as a result of human error. According to the company, the credit cards involved were "mistakenly swiped" in "rare circumstances" when waitstaff swiped cards on the wrong payment devices.

In 2016, Landry's installed a new type of encrypted technology to protect patrons' information from being stolen. All of the chain's point-of-sale terminals were outfitted with the secure technology at the time of the hack, but the terminals for bar and kitchen orders did not have the same security system. When employees accidentally rung customers up on those devices, some card numbers, expiration dates and internal verification codes became compromised.

While some member rewards programs have left customers' information vulnerable, like the data breach at Dunkin' in November 2018, Landry's Select Club rewards cards were not involved in this incident.

If you recently dined (or think you have recently dined) at one of Landry's hundreds of restaurant locations, here's what you need to know:

Check the full list of Landry's brands and locations potentially affected by the breach. The group is recommending that any customers check for unusual activity and continue to thoroughly monitor their card statements. Consumers should also obtain a free credit report to check for unauthorized activity over the last year. Law enforcement officials are continuing to investigate the breach, but Landry's has since "removed malware," added additional security and provided more training for its employees who operate point-of-sale terminals.

Concerned customers may also call (833) 991-1538 with any questions.