McDonald’s customers, who could become victims of identity theft, are hoping they won’t become as well known to cyber criminals as Ronald McDonald.
The concern comes after McDonald's warned its customers of potential identity theft, phishing attacks or scams, according to a report from WalletPop.
A database was broken into. It included personal information, such as ages, e-mail addresses, street addresses, and telephone numbers, of customers who signed up for restaurant promotions (such as the Monopoly game).
McDonald’s hired Arc Worldwide for a promotional e-mail campaign. Arc Worldwide hired another company that coordinated and distributed e-mails. The third company had its records accessed.
"Law enforcement officials have been notified and are investigating this incident," McDonald's said in an e-mail to customers. "We apologize for any concern this incident may cause. Protecting our valued customers is very important to us."
A similar warning also was issued by Walgreens. It notified customers that, "The only information that was obtained was your email address. Your prescription information, account and any other personally identifiable information were not at risk because such data is not contained in the email system, and no access was gained to Walgreens consumer data systems.”
Walgreens, like McDonald’s, urged customers to be cautious.
"We encourage you to continue to be aware of increasingly common e-mail scams that may use your email address to contact you and ask for personal or sensitive information. Always be cautious when opening links or attachments from unsolicited third parties. Also know that Walgreens will not send you emails asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. So if ever asked for this information, you can be confident it is not from Walgreens."
In a related matter, TMCnet reported that a survey released this summer by Kindsight (News - Alert) showed a majority of consumers said there is a greater need for protection against cyber criminals.
Of the 1,200 regular Internet users who were polled, 65 percent of them said they were heavily concerned about bank account, credit card or other personal information breached by an outsider, according to TMCnet.
Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf