Could your personal information have been stolen recently?
Mon, 04 Apr 2011 17:35:42 GMT —
You may have already started receiving the emails, alerting you that your email address and name have been stolen from a database managed by Epsilon.While you may have never heard of Epsilon before, you've most likely done business with one of their clients, to name a few: JPMorgan Chase, Best Buy, TiVo, Walgreen's, Kroger, Capital One, Barclays Bank, U.S. Bancorp, Citigroup, Marriott, Disney and the US College Board.The companies all use Dallas-based Epsilon to manage their emails to customers. Epsilon said Friday that its system had been breached, exposing email addresses and customer names but no other personal information.Epsilon has said that no other customer data was exposed besides names and e-mail addresses."A rigorous assessment determined that no other personal identifiable information associated with those names was at risk. A full investigation is currently underway," the company wrote in a very brief statement.Reuters calls this potentially "one of the biggest such breaches in U.S. history."Affected companies have started sending emails to customers to warn that hackers may have learned their email addresses.U.S. Bank told its customers the following in the mass email: "We want to assure you that U.S. Bank has never provided Epsilon with financial information about you. For your security, however, we wanted to call this matter to your attention. We ask that you remain alert to any unusual or suspicious emails."BestBuy apologized to its customers in the email: "We regret this has taken place and for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We take your privacy very seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to protect your personal information."The affected companies said the email addresses could be used to target "phishing" attacks: seemingly legitimate emails that try to coax account login information from victims.So, what do you do if you've gotten one of the emails? Security experts say to be skeptical of emails that come from those companies and never give out your personal information. Experts also suggest to not follow any links contained in emails from those companies because they could take you to copycat sites that contain computer viruses or other types of computer malware. It's better to go directly to the company's website by typing in the address in your internet browser.What do you think? Did you get an email saying your email was compromised? Are you concerned?(The Associated Press contributed to this story)