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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Fraud cases reported after Sweetbay security breach

Florida Sweetbay Supermarket shoppers are being advised to scrutinize their financial statements following a computer security breach that has potentially exposed four million credit and debit card numbers between December and March.

Close to 2,000 cases of fraud have been reported as a result, according to a press release from Hannaford Bros. Co., the company that owns the grocery chain.

Personal information, such as names and addresses, was not obtained in the theft.

Hannaford was notified of unusual credit card activity by its data processing company on Feb. 27 and immediately began working with law enforcement on an investigation, said Michael Norton, a company spokesman.

Since the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made, Norton was reluctant to explain how the numbers had been obtained.

But he was confident that a similar breach would not happen again.

"We know what was doing the damage here, we know what was put in the system to deal with the damage, and we feel that we have contained that," Norton said.

He said the company would not directly contact shoppers to warn them about the thefts because scammers could use that as an opportunity to pose as the company and ask customers for private information. Customers are being notified through news releases and signs in stores, he said.

"We feel like we're getting the word out pretty well," he said.

However, as UF psychology senior Lisa Smalheiser was leaving the Sweetbay on Southwest 34th Street Wednesday afternoon, she said she had not heard about the breach and was not informed while shopping.

"I'm upset they don't have signs," Smalheiser said. "And it's not just a little supermarket - it's a big chain."

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