Not even a month removed from the massive Equifax breach, Whole Foods announced Wednesday that a massive breach of its credit card system has now left shoppers in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., vulnerable.The more we rely on technology to make our purchases, the more vulnerable our purchases are. While credit card providers are rushing to get as many chipped cards out to their customers, even that is proving insufficient to keep consumers protected. Whole Foods, a chain of grocery stores recently acquired by Amazon, announced on Wednesday that credit card systems have been breached at 56 of its grocery stores. All of these grocery stores used point-of-sale technologies different from what the chain's grocery stores typically use at grocery checkouts. What this means is that the locations accepted credit card payments in areas other than the front-of-the-store checkout aisles, such as sit-down dining areas or tap-rooms. The company released a list of its affected locations, which include stores located in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In Washington, D.C.-proper, the Whole Foods on H-Street is on the list. So is the Whole Foods in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Virginia has six Whole Foods grocery stores affected by the breach: Arlington, Ashburn, Fairfax, Glen Allen, Newport News, and Virginia Beach. The Whole Foods in Virginia Beach, for example, experienced a breach in the credit card system used in The Porch, a "coffee bar and pub serving fresh-brewed organic coffee, eight local and craft beers on tap, wines by the glass and delicious pub food." The Arlington, VA, location also has a cafe on the premises that serves coffee and beer. Purchases at these kinds of in-store cafes are now vulnerable after the breach. Here is the full statement from Whole Foods. The statement from Whole Foods does not make it clear when the company learned of this breach or how long it took for them to announce it after becoming aware of it. At this point, there is no reason to believe that grocery purchases would be affected by the breach. But if you used a credit or debit card to pay at one of the restaurants or tap-rooms inside one of these affected locations, Whole Foods urges you to "closely monitor [your] payment card statements and report any unauthorized charges to the issuing bank."