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Discover Card’s vague “recent data breach” email freaks out customers

Discover Card’s vague “recent data breach” email freaks out customers
[Photo: Darkness]

Some Discover customers (including me) were a little freaked out this week after receiving an email with the subject line, “Important: What you can do now about the recent data breach.” The email included a number of steps you can take to protect your personal information, like tracking your FICO scorecard or activating free alerts.

However, the email did not mention which recent data breach it was talking about. Was it referring to the recent hack at Equifax? Was Discover itself hacked? In this age of constant hacks, breaches, and security snafus, it’s impossible to keep track.

Well, breathe easy, Discover customers, because the company clarified on social media that it has not been hacked. Rather, the email was referring to a breach at “one of the credit bureaus” (which we assume is Equifax). The company responded after other understandably confused customers tweeted out about the cryptic email.

It’s unclear why Discover doesn’t seem to want to mention Equifax by name. Other companies—LifeLock, for instance—have not shied away from it. A Discover spokesman tells me it was a “copy decision.” He also said the company hasn’t received the volume of confusion that would necessitate a follow-up email.

Next time, some specifics would be nice. You can’t just say “breach” and expect everyone to know which one.

This post has been updated to reflect input from Discover.CZ