Whether you follow technology news or not, most likely you’d have heard of the data breach at Epsilon. After all, it even made it NPR. So, what does it mean to customers and what should we do.
Be extra careful – that’s the answer. Here is the reason why. What Epsilon really lost is the e-mail addresses and contact data of the customers. And since Epsilon is an e-mail marketing company (much like telemarketers that make those unwanted calls at home), it had the data of customers of many major banks, credit card companies, vacation providers, online stores, etc — look at the ever-growling list here. Since the spammers (or bad guys) have this entire set of information, they know MOST OF THE PLACES you’ve shopped at, you bank with, and cards you use/own. They can now send a carefully crafted e-mail to trap you – something on the lines of “We noticed some fraudulent activity when you made a purchase on Disney Cruise and Hilton Hotels in Los Angeles using your Chase credit card. Please click here to check and verify.” Since multiple transactions could be tied together, it’s likely we’ll fall for it.
Here are some tips:
- Never click on the links in the e-mail. Always open a new browser window, and visit the site that you know is from your bank or credit card.
- Just “cut and paste” part of the received e-mail on Google. More likely than not, someone else faced this problem already
- Be on extra guard for anything that relates to the ones listed here. The “spam filters” might not help as the attacks are going to be targeted.
No Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as SSN, credit card numbers has been lost and that is really comforting.