That is my new thinking. They same will apply to Marshalls, HomeGoods and A.J. Wright. If I every go to Canada this will apply to Winners and Home Sense stores. Finally, in the event that I can someday afford to go across the pond to the U.K., T.K. Maxx will not get my money. What is the reason for that reaction? How can I justify denial of the tens of dollars I annually give these stores (I don’t shop very much)? Well, I will tell you.
You will recall that hackers broke into TJX database last year and stole probably thousands of their customer’s credit card numbers (and their driver’s license numbers and their phone numbers and their addresses). They were able to get this information because TJX had illegally stored these numbers on their computers. They are not supposed to do that. “Why would they store that personal information?” Hmmm. Strike one.
The way TJX sees it, it is a big deal, the whole “putting our customers in danger of identity theft” (which could take the rest of their lives to clear up) but they are doing all they can. After all, Carol Meyrowitz, President and CEO of TJX, is personally lying awake at night agonizing over the problems this has caused for customers (at least TJX web site says something like that). Hmmm. Not buying. Strike two.
My wife was one of these victims. How did she find out? Did a TJ Maxx representative call her or send her a letter apologizing for this error on their part and offering any type of credit monitoring? No. She got a letter in the mail from her credit card company telling her that her data was stolen. They canceled the credit card and issued her a new one. Still no word from TJX. It is super-easy to get on their mailing list to receive announcements for upcoming sales events, but they can’t send something important like a letter telling a customer their data has been taken? Strike three.
Since their PR fiasco, they have kept a little too quiet on the whole subject, in my opinion. And now, things have gotten worse for them. Florida law-enforcement officials issued arrest warrants for 10 hoodlums who are suspects in an $8 million gift card scheme.
They were using TJX data in November of last year, about a month before TJX said they were aware of the data breach. The suspects used stolen TJX information to purchase gift cards at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. They purchased gift cards mostly in the amount of $400 because amounts of $500 or more require the purchaser to show some ID.
Once a victim realizes that their credit card information has been stolen, the account can be deactivated within minutes. So, the thief uses the stolen credit card to purchase a gift card. Then, if the credit card is canceled, they start using the gift cards.
Six of the ten have been arrested: Irving Escobar, 18; Reinier Camaraza Alvarez, 27; Julio Oscar Alberti, 33; Dianelly Hernandez, 19; Nair Zuleima Alvarez, 40; and Zenia Mercedes Llorente, 23. The other four are still running around. You can see their pictures here.
Still no word from TJX on how their data was breached and that has prompted one TJX shareholder—the Arkansas Carpenters Pension Fund—to sue them in order to access all records showing how TJX handled data security. I would imagine that there will be more to follow.