This data breach, supposedly exposing large numbers of people’s full name and email addresses, is looked at as a very minor offense.
But a closer look at how this data can be used means it allows potential criminals to be a step closer to prying on you.
1) Most active people on facebook have initially registered with a real birth date. If not, they have also been wished a happy birthday in their newsfeed. If the Epsilon data breach is distributed to criminals, then a quick look at Facebook would allow them to get enough information to try and fake you out by saying “This is an email confirm a secondary email address…” While Gmail has a special place OUTSIDE OF YOUR INBOX to request this information, some people may not realize that the email with the same wording is NOT from Google.
2) If you are a creature of habit and use the same email address on registration for JP Morgan / Chase, Kroger, Best Buy, Target, Marriott, Hilton, Citigroup, Wallgreens, TiVo, Capital One, Home Shopping Network, College Board (student marketing groups tied to 5900 Universities, Colleges and schools) , be careful when supplying any group personal information through email.
Not registering for discounts like a Best Buy card is sometimes an excellent idea – because they are giving your data directly to a marketing house – just like Epsilon – and there is no way to opt-out. It does not matter what the security measures are with the group you are using – as in a banking institution. They are not responsible for your data once they give it to any partner. Discount or not, it is never worth sacrificing your personal data for a discount care or mail-in rebate.
The BBB has advice to help protect you from identity theft and email phishing scams:
* Be careful about clicking on links or downloading attachments contained in emails. You could expose your computer to viruses, spyware and malware which can lead to identity theft.
* Do not give personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you via email, even if they say they are from your bank, the IRS or a law enforcement agency. These businesses will not contact you via email; they will send you a letter.
* Discuss phishing scams with all the members of your family who have email addresses. Young people are very computer savvy, but may not be scam savvy, and older adults are specifically targeted by scammers because they can be very trusting.
* Watch out for grammatical mistakes in emails. Poor grammar or misspelled words are red flags that the email is probably a scam.
* Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and run it regularly.
Do not reply to emails or click on links that cause immediate concern regarding your account with any group.