Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Customers come last for companies battling breaches

Each time we turn on the evening news, it seems another major company has had a credit card data breach. Companies such as Jewel-Osco, Target, Jimmy Johns and Home Depot have discovered the possible breach of millions of customer’s data. Even worse, many companies are not being up front with their customers at risk and their profits are paying the cost.
We shop at places where we are comfortable taking and spending our hard earned dollars.  Americans are concerned now more than ever about having our money taken from us in the form of fraud.
According to, the technology company Unisys has stated that “Americans are more concerned about technological threats than they are about physical ones, like war or terrorism.”
That’s why it’s shocking when companies take weeks to announce data breaches to the public. Jimmy Johns waited until September to announce a July breach, and it took three weeks for Target to release information about a possible data breach.
Target’s website stated that nearly 40 million credit and debit card accounts were impacted in late 2013. A press release later stated that over 70 million individuals may have been affected during the data breach last year.
Home Depot announced a similar breach in August. However this time any customer since April of 2014 was at risk.
“We want you to know that we have now confirmed that those systems have in fact been breached,” Home Depot told customers on its website on Sept. 1 without going into detail.
Frank Blake, Home Depot CEO, called cyber security “a major issue.”
The most recent data breachhappened to Jewel-Osco. They have had two breaches, one after another in mid to late August.
Jewel has said that all stores in Illinois and Iowa are possibly affected.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Anyone who used a credit or debit card at [Jewel Osco] stores from June 22 to July 17 or from Aug. 27 to Sept. 21 is being offered 12 months of free consumer identity protection services from AllClear ID.”
Target’s apology was a 10 percent discount, barley enough to take off the cost of Illinois State taxes.
These corporations want to pay off the customers for these ‘small’ inconveniences,  while forgetting to inform customers about what they’re doing to prevent future breaches. Home Depot said they are buying “more secure” credit card terminals.
If “more secure” was an option in the first place, why were these not implemented sooner in the interested of their customers?
“U.S. is behind the times,” said Maggie Radke, a customer of Jewel-Osco from Elgin, IL. “We need to catch up with Europe with our banking and have that chip in our cards.”
Target seemed to have taken this opportunity of the cautious customer as an opportunity to promote their new credit cards.
The store announced that Target REDcards would be released in early 2015 in response to a question on their FAQ webpage about the progress of the company’s security post-breach. Target never mentions any new security tactics besides that of their own credit card that would be upgraded.
Companies are starting to see the effects. Home Depot and Target have both publicly stated loss in sales from the scandals.  According to the Washington Post, the Target breach cost the company a reported $17 million and their sales in the fourth quarter from last year were down 46 percent. Home Depot losing over $56 Million, according to USA Today.
“It worries me that a lot of these big companies are having these issues, but as long as the situation is being handled responsibly by the company, it won’t stop me from shopping there,” said Anne Wilkinson, a Jewel-Osco customer from Naperville, IL, who says she hopes the companies would do anything in their power to protect customers as much as possible.
Hopefully, soon companies will see that being honest with us as soon as possible is the best route to customer satisfaction.

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Customers come last for companies battling breaches