System breach at Knoxville's Wild Wing Cafe compromises customer

System breach at Knoxville's Wild Wing Cafe compromises customers' debit card numbers

Posted:
Multiple customers' debit card information was stolen at Wild Wing Cafe. Multiple customers' debit card information was stolen at Wild Wing Cafe.
"I was checking my bank account and I saw a charge for $7.19 for a Circle Hotel 13 in Massachusetts," said customer John Sarten. "I was checking my bank account and I saw a charge for $7.19 for a Circle Hotel 13 in Massachusetts," said customer John Sarten.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's a disturbing thought - going to eat at your favorite local restaurant, only to have your debit card numbers stolen when you pay for your meal.

But that's exactly what happened this weekend to several people at Knoxville's Wild Wing Café in Turkey Creek.

The restaurant is now apologizing after they say someone hacked their system, stealing customers' information.

Several of those customers reached out to 6 News about the problem, wanting to know how it happened.

Viewer Lacey Stevens posted on our 6 News Facebook page that right after she and her friends went to eat at Wild Wing Café Saturday, July 6, three out of four of them had fraudulent charges hit their bank accounts.

Within a few days, someone had used Stevens' debit card number to rack up more than $1,000 worth of charges at grocery stores and gas stations in Georgia.

Monday, Wild Wing Café confirmed that their computer server, "was breached by an outside source," last week, stealing the card information of a number of patrons.

Just like Stevens and her friends, John Sarten of Knoxville also paid with his debit card when he ate at Wild Wing Café that exact same Saturday.

"I use it for everything, every single day," said Sarten, talking about his debit card.

He noticed something strange on his bank statement the next day.

"I was checking my bank account and I saw a charge for $7.19 for a Circle Hotel 13 in Massachusetts," said Sarten.

The fraud department at his bank in Knoxville, United Community Bank, noticed it too.

"She said 10 minutes before I came in, she said another lady had the exact same charge from the exact same place," said Sarten.

The bank quickly blocked his card so the scammers can't use it anymore.

"I'm very thankful for that, because it could be a lot worse," said Sarten.

Sarten says his bank representative told him that's what scammers do. They try a small transaction first on the card to make sure it's going to work for them before they go and make more costly purchases.

Sarten says it's scary that someone so easily ripped off his private information like that.

"It just worries me to use it again," he said.

He's just glad he and his bank noticed the bogus charge before the thieves could spend any more of his money.

"When you see something that doesn't look familiar, question it," said Sarten. "We work hard for our money. Don't take it."

To further protect himself, he's going to make a few changes when it comes to paying for purchases.

"I'll probably start paying with cash a lot more," said Sarten.

Wild Wing Café says once customers alerted them to the problem, they immediately alerted the Knox County Sheriff's Office and are continuing to work alongside them to resolve the issue for affected customers.

The restaurant has also called in their own technology team to fix the breach and make sure it never happens again.

United Community Bank says if you think your card may have been compromised, the best thing to do is immediately contact your bank.

Once the card company shut downs your card, you can then sign a form that formally disputes the charges at your bank's office.

In most cases, consumers can get their money back within 10 days or less.

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