Were you one of the 70 million people who received an email supposedly from Target’s CEO in the last couple of days?
Were you a bit surprised to receive it, especially as you don’t recall ever using that email account to buy anything from Target’s website?
Did it make you a little suspicious; that it could have been part of a scam?
You’re not the only one. When I first read this, I was fairly convinced that this was a phishing email because:
- The email was sent from “@target.bli0.com” and not “@target.com” – indicating that the email did not originate from Target.
- “www.bli0.com” does not resolve to a website.
- I received this in an email account I rarely give out to e-commerce sites and I don’t remember buying anything from target.com.
- It refers to “guests” and not “customers”; a very strange mis-cue from a CEO.
- It contains a link to a website which requests your personal information (to sign up for the free offer).
- It even gave you “safety tips” to avoid getting scammed to gain your trust – including telling the reader NOT to click on links in emails you don’t recognize!
However, this a LEGITIMATE email worded very much like a phishing scam:
- The same message can be found on Target’s corporate affairs SECURE website (https://corporate.target.com/about/payment-card-issue).
- bli0.com is a real company specializing in sending mass marketing email to their client’s contact list, they just don’t have a website.
- I HAVE used this email account with ONE e-commerce site: Amazon. I suspect that, instead of ever buying anything directly from Target, I bought something from Target through amazon.com.
If this is the only message you’ve received from Target, it is unlikely that you are one of the 40 million customers who have had their credit card details stolen, but you ARE one of the 70 million ADDITIONAL customers whose email address is on a compromised list somewhere.
Should you take up the offer of a year’s free credit monitoring? That’s up to you, of course: a lot of people swear by these products and, after all, it is free.
However, are you sure you feel safe interacting with Target’s web site? Though the offer is from a third-party company (Experian), there’s still a linkage back to Target, tenuous or not, as they have to validate that you’re eligible for the offer.
I’m not sure whether I’m taking the offer of a year’s free credit reporting or not. I have changed my email and Amazon account passwords and have also run my antivirus and antimalware software, just to make sure, though.
At a bare minimum, I strongly suggest you do the same.