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Raley's

Talk about turning a negative into a positive: a West Coast grocery chain is informing customers that their credit card information may have been compromised. That’s the negative part, of course. The positive part? Its customers are saying “thank you” in response.

Not what you might expect.

Raley’s announced today that “a portion of its computer network systems may have been the target of a complex, criminal cyber attack… At this time, the company has not confirmed any unauthorized access to payment card data, but its investigation remains ongoing.”

So why are customers offering their thanks? Because Raley’s let them know. “I appreciate the heads up, thanks Raley’s!” wrote one commenter on the store’s Facebook page. “Thank you for informing us,” another commented. “You’re still the best store in town!” wrote a third.

It’s a much different situation than the one St. Louis-based Schnucks has found itself in. That chain was the target of a cyberattack earlier this year (read: “Fraud Alert: Police Warn Not to Use Credit Cards at Schnucks”), and now it’s the target of at least two lawsuits brought by angry customers (read: “Sorry Your Credit Card Was Hacked, Here’s a Coupon”).

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Schnucks has apologized for the whole situation, several times, but many customers felt let down that Schnucks didn’t inform them earlier (read: “Schnucks Repairs Security Breach – But For Some, the Damage is Done”). Schnucks said when it first suspected there might be a problem, it began investigating, but didn’t inform customers right away so as not to jeopardize the investigation. In the meantime, unsuspecting Schnucks customers kept right on using their credit and debit cards.

“Schnucks’ response to the breach of its customers’ private financial information did not come until at least two weeks after Schnucks claims it first became aware of it,” one of the two lawsuits subsequently filed against the chain complained.

Could Raley’s have been watching, and learning?

Their statement today offers little specific information, but then that’s the point – they don’t have a lot of specific information yet, but decided to inform their customers anyway. And some observers say that’s a good move. A 2012 Temple University study on data breach litigation found that the more forthright and supportive an affected retailer is, the less likely they are to get sued by customers.

“The company has taken a series of immediate steps to enhance the security measures already in place to protect customer data,” Raley’s statement reads. “The company is confident that customers can continue using their payment cards in its stores.”

Until Raley’s figures out exactly what happened, that reassurance may not go over well with everyone. But it’s a start.

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