Loyalty Program Risks Increasing

Panera Bread is the latest company to be hit by a data breach. While Panera estimated that records of fewer than 10,000 belonging to customers who had registered for the MyPanera program were exposed, KrebsonSecurity puts the number at more than 37 million.

As more and more consumers and organizations move to e-commerce transactions, every relationship and transaction raises the possibility that data will be compromised.

Loyalty programs are particularly vulnerable as companies continue to offer perks for personal data. According to a recent article from the Washington Post – www.washingtonpost.com – by Rachel Siegel, experts interviewed such as Carrie Kerskie, identity fraud expert at Hodges University, it’s just about impossible to control personal information once it is online. “The test that I use is if you’re doing anything online, view it from the perspective of, ‘Would I also put this on the billboard of a highway?’ ”

In light of continuing corporate breaches and allegations regarding Facebook disclosures, consumers must now ask how their personal data is being protected. And corporations must also bear in mind that more and more the burden falls on them to ensure that access to personal information is handled properly.