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'We regret to inform you': The Epsilon breach letters you don't want to see

Thousands of customers of Marriott, JPMorgan Chase, Walgreens, Capital One, Brookstone, BJ's, TIVO, Barclays Bank of Delaware, Red Roof and others get the bad news email

By , Network World
April 05, 2011 01:51 PM ET

Network World - "We regret to inform you ..." are five words you never want to see in an email. But over the weekend thousands of people did as Epsilon began warning its customers that it had suffered a break-in and email addresses were stolen. Epsilon now says that about 50 of its client businesses were hit -- no small number as Epsilon blasts some 40 billion messages in their names each year.

The problem is that now security experts warn that a ton of spear-phishing attacks will be forthcoming. And then there might be more letters of regret.

RATING APOLOGIES: Deep regrets, from TJX to ChoicePoint, about data leaks

So in case you didn't see one of these flaccid attempts to assuage customer nervousness, here are a few:


Target's email service provider, Epsilon, recently informed us that their data system was exposed to unauthorized entry. As a result, your email address may have been accessed by an unauthorized party. Epsilon took immediate action to close the vulnerability and notified law enforcement.

While no personally identifiable information, such as names and credit card information, was involved, we felt it was important to let you know that your email may have been compromised. Target would never ask for personal or financial information through email.

Consider these tips to help protect your personal information online:

• Don't provide sensitive information through email. Regular email is not a secure method to transmit personal information.

• Don't provide sensitive information outside of a secure website. Legitimate companies will not attempt to collect personal information outside a secure website. If you are concerned, contact the organization represented in the email.

• Don't open emails from senders you don't know.

We sincerely regret that this incident occurred. Target takes information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken to protect personal information. Please contact should you have any additional questions.


Bonnie Gross

Vice President, Marketing and Guest Engagement

Red Roof Inn

Dear Guest,

We have been informed by one of our email service providers, Epsilon, that your email address was exposed by an unauthorized entry into that provider's computer system. We use our email service providers to help us manage the large number of email communications with our guests. Our email service providers send emails on our behalf to guests who have chosen to receive email communications from us.

How will this affect you? First, we want to assure you that your name and email address were the only information that was compromised. As a result of this incident, it is possible that you may receive spam email messages, emails that contain links containing computer viruses or other types of computer malware, or emails that seek to deceive you into providing personal or credit card information. As a result, you should be extremely cautious before opening links or attachments from unknown third parties or providing a credit card number or other sensitive information in response to any email. Also know that Red Roof will not send you e-mails asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. So if you are ever asked for this information, you can be confident it is not from Red Roof.

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