By Rebecca Gannon
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
9:56 PM CDT, April 5, 2011
If you received an email from a company recently (including Dillons, Walgreens, Best Buy, Target, Tivo, Citibank, 1-800-FLOWERS, Sears Card, New York and Company, Brookstone, LL Bean), your name and email address may now be in the hands of hackers.
"When I first received the email," said Bill Ramsey, "I looked through it, because I thought it was a scam itself."
The president of The Bill Guy Technology Solutions is surrounded by technology all day. (Really, there are seven computers at his desk.) So when he got an email from Citibank, he did his research.
Then he learned he had become one of the millions of people who learned their name and email address might be out floating free in cyberspace. "When your name and your email address are everywhere," he said, "I would expect you would see an increase in spam."
But the bigger threat is fake emails, "saying that your citibank account has been breached, and you need to go change your password," Ramsey explained. "You think 'Ohmigosh, I really need to do this'. You click on the link, and it's not citibank. Looks like citibank, acts like citibanks, but it's not."
But there are ways to protect yourself. "One - actually read the email. Bad English is prevalent in these things. They use horrible grammar, it doesn't make sense half the time. Two - don't immediately click on the links. Hover over the links, and let it tell you where it comes from. And if it doesn't actually come from -- in this case, citibank.com, don't go."
The companies outsource their marketing and email communications to a company called Episilon. Episilon says this affected about 2% of its clients. If you got an email, you're probably one of the people affected.
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