Friday, March 30, 2007

TJX added to our ID Wall of Shame

TJX owns T.J. Maxx, Marshall's and other stores in North America and the United Kingdom, and have great stores but they have proven without a doubt they have a PR machine that is compromised just like their computer system.

They do not publicly disclose the extent of the record breach but attempt to slip it into a regulatory filing, hoping it will go unnoticed. Sure 45.7 million cards represent an ugly number. But they backed themselves into a corner by having to explain it once it was plucked from the filing. TJX didn’t think to tell anyone about that ahead of time, but since you found it in our SEC form 10-K and brought it up we’ll have to talk about it now.

So that was not such a great move, but what was a bit more unsettling was they have openly stated they cannot offer any assistance to anyone who has been “inconvenienced” by a theft. They refuse to talk anymore about that due to litigation. You want a piece of them? You’ll have to get in line with the 20 plus lawsuits filed to date.

And the pitiful PR icing on the cake is they only offer free credit monitoring for 1 year for the 455,000 who lost personal information, drivers license numbers, military ID numbers, etc, which could be used to commit identity fraud.

What is that really worth? If the pattern follows through from the other 45 million card theft only victims, they probably will not help out if your identity is stolen but they will pay for a service that informs you about ID fraud after it has occurred. If that’s the case, once again it will be up to the victims to rectify the situation, incur the cost and the headaches to say the least. Something sound familiar here?

Haven’t they been down this road before? They may never learn.

While credit monitoring is one of many useful tools to combat fraud, there is much more they should be doing for all of those who may be “inconvenienced”. For that we have added TJX to our ID Wall of Shame.