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Panera Gift Card Hacked

January 24th, 2016

Yesterday we decided to have lunch at Panera so I grabbed my “new” gift card to pay for it since there was only $8 left on an older card. Imagine my surprise when the cashier told me the $50 card had a $0 balance! WTF? He was going to keep the card but I took it back because I was pretty sure I hadn’t used it and I wanted to look into it further. It’s been sitting with our other unused gift cards in the house because a) I don’t have room in my wallet for all the gift cards we have and b) we don’t eat at very Panera often.

This morning I went online to check the balance and saw that someone used the card within two days of each other last month. It only shows the store # but not the location, and there’s no way to search Panera’s site by store # so I can’t figure out where it was used. I searched several cities around here and even in other states hoping I’d come across the store # (since it’s only listed in the search results) but I couldn’t figure it out.

I called Discover and explained the situation and they were kind enough to reimburse me the $45 in cashback I had used to purchase the card back in 2014. I’m glad we’re not out any money but I’d love to know who stole the # and used it. Unfortunately, it will forever remain a mystery.

I don’t know if I’ll order another Panera card anytime soon since we visit so infrequently (obviously) and I don’t want to let any future gift cards sit around for so long again. I’m guessing whoever hacked their gift card system specifically targeted cards that had been dormant for over a year thinking maybe they were lost and they could get away using them. As it is I have gift cards from Red Robin and Bahama Breeze to use anyway.

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