By Elsa Maxey
E-mail addresses and/or customer names, some probably of residents in Fort Bend County, have been obtained as a result of a system’s breach. A statement from Epsilon, a data management company in Irving, Texas, is saying that a full investigation is underway and last week it publicly disclosed that information was obtained from an unauthorized entry of their company, described as the “world’s largest permission-based e-mail marketing provider.” Epsilon also stated that an assessment determined that no other personal identifiable information associated with the names was at risk.
Reports about Epsilon are that it sends more than 40 billion emails annually to customers of their 2,500 plus clients. Among the clients and those affected by the breach, according to sources, are Ameriprise Financial, Best Buy, Brookstone, Capital One, Citi, Disney Destinations, Home Shopping Network, JP Morgan Chase, Kroger, LL Bean, Marriott Rewards, McKinsey & Company, New York & Company, Robert Half Technologies, The College Board, TiVo, US Bank, and Walgreens.
The Kroger Company reportedly notified its customers of the database breach and some Fort Bend residents have also heard from Capital One. Both advised customers of the possibility of receiving spam email messages and urged them not to open any e-mails from unknown senders and to delete any message requesting personal or financial data.
Capital One told its customers that no account information or other information was compromised as a result of the recent breach.
More about how the breach occurred is being requested by investigating authorities and also measures to prevent it from happing again.
Hackers and spammers have been known to use e-mails to access information stored on personal computers, spy on Internet surfing, steal personal information and/or use compromised computers to send spam to other computers.
Precautionary steps from the Federal Trade Commission include the installation of a good quality anti-virus, anti-spyware software that is kept up to date; calling a company immediately and changing passwords, if you suspect passwords have been compromised; not using an email address as a banking login ID or password; avoid opening any attachments or downloading files from e-mails you receive; not downloading free software unless it is from a site that you know and trust; checking your “sent items” file or “outgoing” mailbox for messages you did not send; and taking immediate action if your computer is infected by disconnecting it from the Internet and scanning it with anti-virus and anti-spyware software.