Data Breach Could Spell Trouble for Consumers

April 05, 2011

Until recently, Epsilon wasn’t exactly a household name. But now that the marketing giant firm has notified its high-profile customers that it was the victim of a data breach, web results and social media trends about the company are growing.  

If your bank, credit card lender, or favorite retailer is an Epsilon customer, you need to keep an eye on your email and a tight grip on your personal information. The same goes for parents and students signed-up with The College Board for prep tests and help with their college search.

According to the notifications BBB received, only names and email addresses were compromised by the hack. Reports indicate that personal and financial information on file with Epsilon were not accessed. However, it is very likely that information obtained during the breach could be used in phishing attacks designed to scare customers into divulging personal and financial information.

While BBB has received notices from Best Buy, Chase, BJ's and The College Board, it has not been able to confirm exactly how many consumers are at risk. But the attack certainly has the potential of impacting a huge number of consumers. On its Web site, Epsilon states, “We are the world’s largest permission-based email marketing provider, sending over 40 billion emails annually.” In a press release, Reuters claimed this “…could be one of the biggest such breaches in U.S. history…”

BBB Tips to Avoid Phishing

Beware of any email asking for personal, financial or account information. Legitimate companies you rely on for your online shopping, financial needs and college tests will not request this information – they already have it.

Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.

Do not click on any links. If you want to communicate with the business use your favorite search engine to find their Web site and/or contact information. Do not trust the information provided in the email.

Never provide your User ID or password in an e-mail.

Watch for strange emails from family/friends. Hackers sometimes use stolen information to pose as someone in your address book.

Make sure your computer’s spyware, spam filter and virus protection are up to date.

Check your credit report at

Report suspicious emails to and your BBB.

At this time, the following organizations’ customer records have been reportedly compromised by the Epsilon data breach:

Barclays Bank of Delaware
Best Buy
Capital One
Disney Destinations
Home Shopping Network
JPMorgan Chase
LL Bean
Marriott Rewards
McKinsey & Company
New York & Company
Ritz-Carlton Rewards
The College Board
US Bank