If you bank, shop or book hotels online, it’s likely you were one of the many who received an e-mail this morning warning you of a security breach. After a hack involving marketing provider Epsilon, major companies like Chase, Barclays Bank, US Bancorp, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Best Buy, LL Bean, Home Shopping Network, and TiVo have all released statements asking customers and subscribers to be wary of possible phishing schemes on the horizon. The companies have advised caution with forthcoming e-mails that look legitimate and ask for information or include any links. If it’s any comfort, you should be mildly reassured that only names and e-mail addresses were obtained by hackers.
Epsilon confirmed on Friday that a third party had accessed its database and made off with name and e-mail addresses. As The New York Times notes, the company is responsible for quite a few business’ e-mail marketing programs, including Chase, Citibank, Kroger, Walgreens, and Disney. In response to the incident, a spokeswoman from the firm claims, “We are working with authorities and are conducting a full investigation. We are limited in what we can share.” The company states that two percent of its clients have been affected by the breach.
Even if it’s unclear a business that handles your information was one of these, here are a few more general tips on avoiding what could be making its way to your inbox:
- Don’t call a provided phone number that explains an automated voice will take any account or personal information.
- Don’t click any links – even from what appears to be a legitimate e-mail.
- You should never be asked via e-mail to verify your account or login information – so don’t.
- Banking related scams will often use the “something unauthorized is going on with your account” angle, so be prepared to see – and ignore – that.
- Don’t open any attachments.
Already fallen victim to any of the above? The FTC will be more than happy to receive your complaint. Check out an example of Chase’s warning to customers below.