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Capital One, Chase and Citibank Warn of Email Breach

Did you receive emails from credit card companies over the weekend that read something like the following? "Recently, we were notified of a system breach at Epsilon, a third-party vendor that provides marketing services to a number of companies. The information obtained was limited to the customer name and email address of some credit card customers. No account information or other information was compromised and therefore there is no reason to re-issue a new card." You may have ignored the emails yourself, thinking they were spammy, but Epsilon confirmed in its own press release on April 1st that the security breach occurred on March 30th.  A huge player in the email marketing business, Epsilon manages email databases for about 2,500 clients and sends an estimated 40 billion emails per year on their behalf.  Emails from Epsilon's clients, which include major credit issuers like Capital One, Chase, and Citibank, soon followed notifying their credit cardholders of the situation.

Be Extra Cautious When Opening Emails

There's no doubt that the stolen email addresses will be used to more effectively target phishing emails to unsuspecting cardholders.  Most of the phishing emails I receive are related to banks I've never used before, which makes it quite easy to realize they're spam. This data breach could allow crooks to target phishing emails directly to those who actually have an account with the bank, which might dupe a significantly higher percentage of people into clicking through and entering their login information on a fraudulent site. The security breach wasn't limited to banks either.  Major retailers such as Walgreens, Home Shopping Network, and Best Buy are included too, so make sure you're EXTRA careful before opening any links or attachments in your emails. Is it just me, or does it seem like the frequency of major data breaches has really increased as of late?  Do you think the hackers getting smarter even faster, or are these companies just getting lazier with their data security protocols?

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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