The madness began early in April. Notifications were being sent left and right. No doubt, you received one or 10. Right? Even WordPress got hit. Did you noticed the common denominator with each email you received? Here’s a hint: Epsilon.
Are you nodding your head, as you recall the recent flood of emails you’ve received from various organizations notifying you that Epsilon’s email database was compromised? Compromised: A term used by public relation specialists, because studies have shown the use of the word ‘hacked’ does not generate warm fuzzies.
So, Epsilon was hacked, and hundreds (if not thousands) of companies use this marketing giant to manage email communications for various company/product websites.
Because Epsilon was hacked, you received an email from an organization informing you that you are receiving the notification because you registered on one of the company’s product websites. (No, the confusion you have right now is not due to my sentence structure; your confusion is due to the notification you received notifying you about your registration. Frankly, I think the company is blaming you for providing them with your contact information.)
Rest assured, the hacked information included only your email addresses, along with your first and last name. Plus, Company A-Z takes your privacy seriously. Yes, Company A-Z utilizes a large marketing firm to manage the electronic communication keeping you, their valued customer, informed of the various products they produce, but the large marketing firm enables Company A-Z to focus on what matters most: making the products you enjoy. Well, you the consumer matter the most, too. Honest.
The reality is simple, Company A-Z does not have time to worry about your contact information. Plus, research has shown Epsilon is a first rate marketing company, with firewalls and other security stuff in place. Remember, only the best for you, o’beloved consumer, because your privacy is important to Company A-Z.
Be forewarned and remain alert to any unusual or suspicious emails, which may be increasing in number. Perhaps you’ve received an email from Mrs. Anita Daniel, with an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Daniel is promising you $1,800,000, after you first send her $500,000. Or maybe you received an from “The Desk of mradamdewu, The Auditing And Accounting Manager African Development Bank (ADB) Ouagadougou-Burkina Faso. Telephone 00226 74 35 16 73.” He wants you to help save his dying wife. He guarantees you hundreds of thousands of dollars, if you would simply deposit a check in your own account. Apparently the banks cannot be trusted in Faso.
In an effort to be fair, all the notifications I have received, pertaining to this breach, offer a tip to keep your information as secure as possible. The tip: strengthen your passwords on any and all of your online accounts. My problem? All of my accounts have strong passwords. While the integrity of my account information may not have been
compromised hacked, my passwords had nothing to do with the breach. Again, though, to be fair – every notification I received ended with a reminder that Company A-Z values my “privacy and will continue to work to ensure it is protected.” Of course, their first assurance failed.
Oh, and one more thing, Company A-Z also wrote, “we apologize if you receive more than one copy of this message as we are working diligently to ensure you are aware of this situation. If you have unsubscribed from our emails in the past, there is no need to unsubscribe again. Your preferences will remain in place.” Basically, Company A-Z hasn’t a clue how many emails were sent out notifying their valued consumer. Company A-Z is still relying on the marketing master, Epsilon, to clean up the mess. I suppose I should be thankful they are focusing their time on the products I love, right?
As a bonus, Epsilon’s press release (dated April 1st) states, “On March 30th, an incident was detected where a subset* of Epsilon clients’ customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon’s email system.” Note the asterisk. What does the asterisk mean? Again, according to the press release, “* Updated April 4, 2011: The affected clients are approximately 2 percent of total clients and are a subset of clients for which Epsilon provides email services.”
2 percent. 2 percent?! How many companies are relying on Epsilon for their marketing? If this breach affected only 2 percent of their total clients, how many clients does this mean they have total? Because, everyone I know (and their brother) had their email compromised.
If you want to take control of the information you share, you may access the following link to opt out of many of Epsilon marketing
scams opportunities: http://www.epsilon.com/emea/Consumer-Opt-out-Information/p261-l2
For the record, Alliance Data Systems Corporation is the parent company for Epsilon. I’m sure your privacy is important to Alliance Data, too.