Jan 2, 2015 · 1 minute

Chick-fil-a is working with "leading IT security firms, law enforcement and [its] payment industry contacts" to investigate a possible data breach at its restaurants.

The fast food chain, which last entered the news cycle for its support of organizations that oppose same-sex marriage in the United States, was first alerted to the possibility of a credit card data breach at some of its franchise locations on December 19, 2014.

Independent cybercrime journalist Brian Krebs reports that 9,000 customers of one banking institution had their credit cards compromised after using them at Chick-fil-a stores in Texas, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, among other states.

If the credit cards flagged by financial institutions were indeed compromised at some Chick-fil-a stores, the fast food chain will join a growing list of companies which have allowed their customers' payment information to be stolen over the last year or so.

Those breaches are becoming more costly: a judge ruled in December that banking institutions can sue companies for the cost of replacing credit cards or reimbursing fraudulent charges, and that consumers can sue for damages caused by data breaches.

Chick-fil-a says in its announcement of the investigation that it will offer consumers free identity protection, including credit monitoring, if it discovers a data breach. It also assures them that fraudulent charges will be covered by their banks or Chick-fil-a.

[photo by Ann Larie Valentine]