Data breaches have unfortunately become a common occurrence. The latest concern for consumers comes from vendor 7.ai, which handles online chat services for Best Buy, Sears, Kmart, and Delta.
Though not as large as the Equifax breach of last year, it still affects potentially hundreds of thousands of customers from each of these retailers.
Here's what you need to know, and what to do next.
A "Small Fraction" Are Affected
The breach affects multiple stores, including Sears, Kmart, and Delta. Sears released a statement that it believes fewer than 100,000 of its customers were affected. The store was notified of the breach about a month ago, in mid-March, and Sears says it immediately notified credit card companies to prevent potential fraud. Delta also released its own statement, which states that it received notification of the breach on March 28.
The latest store to speak out about the hack is Best Buy. According to a Best Buy spokesperson, the number of customers affected is "a small fraction" of the overall online customer population of the site. That "small fraction" still amounts to potentially hundreds of thousands of customers, though.
The breach occurred from September 27 to October 12, 2017, and customers could be at risk whether they used the chat function or not. Best Buy is still currently working to try to determine how far the breach went.
What Are Stores Doing?
As a cautionary move, Best Buy has disabled chat from the more sensitive parts of the site. You can read their statement here. The site also contains updates on the incident, as well as contact information and questions and answers.
Sears is working to identify those customers who would have been impacted so that they can be notified. It is also establishing a hotline for customers, although that doesn't appear to be completed yet. Sears notes that many credit card companies offer protection against unauthorized charges.
Meanwhile, Delta is directing customers to this site and advising them to enroll in the free protection services that are being offered.
What Should You Do Next?
As far as Best Buy goes, the store is planning to directly notify any customers that were affected. Those with compromised information won't be held liable for any fraudulent charges. Additionally, Best Buy is offering free credit monitoring services where it's needed.
Even if you haven't been notified by any of the stores in question, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your accounts. Watch for any suspicious charges, and consider setting up a fraud alert if you don't have one in place already. If you see unusual activity, don't hesitate to contact your credit card company.
Readers, were you affected by the Best Buy data breach? How are you handling it? Let us know in the comments below.