You may or may not have heard about the breech at a company called Epsilon. “So what…” You think. You haven’t done business or given your credit card number to them.
Not so fast, kids.
Epsilon handles email services for 2500 of the biggest companies out there and I’ll bet you a dollar you’ve done business with one of them.
Citi Corp? 1-800-Flowers? Brookstone? Best Buy? Walgreens? Home Shopping Network? How about people like JPMorgan Chase? Kroger? Verizon? TIA-CREF? Target?
From what can be told, it appears that no financial or sensitive information has been stolen, just names and email addresses. The company appears to be keeping all their comments and information vague at the moment but the big question for most people is: What does this mean for me?
Well, you are very likely to get some emails from companies like the listed ones telling you that Epsilon lost your name and email address to some bad people and apologizing for that and telling you that they are still your buddy and still want your money and business.
The other thing that you’ll be getting is:SPAM, baby, SPAM. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of it.
I’ve already seen a dramatic uptick in the amount of spam I’m getting and I’m sure it will only get worse.
Replica Watches? Fake Viagra? Shipping notifications for packages you didn’t know were coming? Emails pleading for your help to get millions of dollars out of some bank holding it hostage and only you can help free it and cash in!
On top of the usual ton of crap you’re going to start getting crafty spam. You may get an email from a company you’ve actually done business with, maybe your bank, and they’ll tell you that your account is in danger. Maybe the email will tell you to go and change your email address because your account has been compromised. It’s going to be an email trying to get you to click a link in that email so they can get the real information they want: usernames, passwords and access to you.
Some good, basic tips on ANY email you get:
If it’s obviously spam: DON’T OPEN IT. Don’t. When you open a spam email it will likely load an image in the email and the spammers can get confirmation that you’re a real person and a real email address so they can sell on your email address as a good one or target you for more spam.
If you get an unexpected email from some company about your account, don’t click the link in the email. Open a browser (hopefully a secure browser like Firefox, Safari or Chrome ) and type in the address of the main site for the company (like www.citi.com ) and go to the site that way. Links might look like they’ll take you to that address but that’s easy to fake.
The best advice is to not be stupid. Think before you click. Think before you give away information. If you suspect you’ve been comprimised change your password immediately and even contact the site. Most sites have policies and proceedures in place to help you and protect you.
Send this info on to people you know who might not be aware of this story and hopefully this will be painless as possible.
Ooo! A Rolex for $10.00 ? Cool, where’s my credit card?!
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