Why should you worry when shops lose your data?

2m Records Lost at CEX in a data breach

Data loss is something that we all need to be aware.  More importantly we should know who actually holds our data and what they do with it.

Are the shops you buying from using it to understand your purchase patterns so they can increase cross sales (not just send you vouchers)?  Do you know much value participating in these schemes generate for the business…. if we knew the real amount would you settle for a £5 off voucher?

Now we are seeing data theft more in the news.  Whether this be because the press are reporting on it more due to the digital first retail environment we’re moving into.  The most recent one that I have seen is CEX.

CEX is a DVD and game shop that allows people to trade in their old DVDs and receive credit for them.  The whole business seems pretty good and I have used them personally once or twice.

The company said the stolen data included customers’ names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and some old credit card information.”

BBC News

So they haven’t given us all the information that the perpetrators have stolen.  But lets look into that.  Will they be able to analyse our purchase patterns to see what devices we have in the house (DVDs, PS4 games).  Could they then use this information to target our homes?

I have not being able to find any stats on the correlation between identity theft and subsequent break ins.  However, I think we’d all be surprised how much information that we’re willing to give over to companies in order to get ‘something back’.  Companies do this to get better customer understanding and in part endear the customers to the brand.

There is an infographic I’ve found from Experian which is a simple flow chart of what you need to do if you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft.


Click on the image above to be sent to the Experian website showing this infographic.

I have also looked at how often people should check their credit reference file.  Unsurprisingly there isn’t any stats.  I personally would recommend once a year.  

Should business do more to protect their data?  Damn right.  We’re trusting them with our information for a purpose.  Sometimes it may feel forced but, we’re not growing accustomed to just handing over this data without question.

Serious data breaches could seriously affect a brand.  People talk.  People blog (this person is) and people are reading these and forming opinions.  So would you shop at CEX anymore?  Well I’ll be thinking twice.

From a company’s perspective I would make sure that all customer facing staff know what the company are doing with a script of how to respond to customers questions.  Please remember that CEX has lost two million records

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