Woolworths apologises for e-gift card customer data breach

Groupon discounted e-gift card offer for BigW worth $1.3m ends in data breach after customer names and email addresses distributed via spreadsheet

Woolworths has apologised to customers following a gift card breach worth more than $1 million that saw nearly 8000 customer records containing names and email addresses leaked to other consumers.

The breach occurred after online discount site, Groupon, offered consumers a deal to buy BigW $100 and $200 gift vouchers at a 7.5 per cent discount last week. Nearly 8000 vouchers worth $1.3m were sold as part of the deal, according to a SMH report.

Customers who purchased the gift cards via Groupon were to be sent an email with a PDF attachment of their electronic voucher. However, according to the story posted on the SMH, when some customers opened the attachment, they found the spreadsheet containing the links to over $1 million worth of vouchers.

It is understood the attachment was emailed to more than 1000 other consumers, allowing them to not only access the gift card codes and begin shopping, but also see other consumers’ names and email addresses. The SMH quoted several customers who had paid for the vouchers via the Groupon site, and who said their gift cards had already been used in stores by other consumers.

In a statement to CMO today, Woolworths confirmed the vouchers had been cancelled and new ones issued to customers. The supermarket giant also reiterated its commitment to customer data security and apologised for the “technical fault”.

“Woolworths takes the concerns of its customers and data security seriously,” the statement read.

“On Saturday we were alerted to a technical fault with an e-gift card offered to customers. These e-gift cards have been cancelled and affected customers have been provided with new e-gift cards for use in-store.

“Woolworths apologises for the inconvenience this has caused our customers.”

A spokesperson for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said it is aware of the incident and has approached Woolworths for further information.

"We will assess the information provided by Woolworths to determine what further action may be required," it said in a statement to CMO.

"If people affected by this incident have any concerns about their personal information, they should contact Woolworths in the first instance. If they are not satisfied with any response they receive they can contact our enquiries line on 1300 363 992 to get more information about how the Privacy Act might apply and how they can make a complaint."

According to the Groupon website, more than 9100 electronic gift cards valued at $100 and $200 were purchased as part of the deal, with consumers purchasing up to 10 at a time. The vouchers were sold at a 7.5 per cent discount and could be used in Big W stores nationally.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Cannes Part 1: Why brands must put human interactions at the heart of their business

As a Media Juror at this year’s Cannes Lions, I was fortunate enough to attend the world’s most influential festival of creativity and listen to thought-leading marketers from around the globe.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in