Albertsons stores in Montana affected by data breach


MISSOULA, Mont. - A new data breach may have affected as many as 200 grocery and liquor stores. It affects retail chains recently sold in two dozen states, including Montana.

The list includes Albertsons, Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacies in two dozen states.

It's just the latest scare for consumers, still reeling from a mega-scare at Target last December.

Target announced that as many as 40 to 70 million credit and debit card accounts were stolen.

Albertsons announced that the company that runs it and other grocery chains learned someone hacked in to get credit and debit card payment information. Montana stores could be impacted.

It's got some residents worried.

"I'm a little concerned, I mean, I was just in there and swiped my card and truthfully, I knew nothing about it and what scares me, I've been traveling a bit on the road for work and the fact that I'm not totally checking my card 24/7," said Bonner resident Wyatt Weimer.

Weimer tells NBC Montana that he only checks his bank account whenever he gets a paycheck.

"If someone did actually did get a hold of my card and had that information, they could spend a lot of money on my card real quick and I wouldn't even know about it," said Weimer.

Albertsons would only send NBC Montana a news release. It said, "The appropriate federal law enforcement authorities have been notified, and AB Acquisition is working closely with its third party IT services provider, SUPERVALU, to better understand the nature and scope of the incident."

"It is a little scary, I've got to say. I mean, everyone is hard to earn money and it's what's being taken from them possibly," said Missoula resident Alex Anthony.

"I'm old fashioned. I change my PIN number on the cards that I do have, every 30 days," said Missoula resident Carla Ellingson.

Some others we spoke with aren't too concerned.

"I don't give out information to just anybody and I use my card just at certain stores," said Peg Sorenson, who is visiting Missoula.

"It doesn't really worry me too much. I mean, stuff like that happens and it's unfortunate," said Missoula resident Austin Tootell.

There is no evidence at this point that consumer data has been misused.

The investigation is ongoing. The period of unauthorized access may have started anywhere from June 22 to July 17.

Here is some useful information from the Better Business Bureau to help you:

If you use a debit or credit card, experts recommend you protect your PIN number, even by covering the screen with your other hand so cameras don't catch your numbers.

Fake keypads are another way scammers get your PIN, so if the keypad looks different, don't use it.

Keep a close eye on your statements and quickly report any suspicious activity.

If you wait too long, your account could be cleaned out, and the bank may not reimburse you.