Why Trading In Your Personal Info for a Big Mac Coupon Wasn't Worth It
Article by George Norman
On 16 Dec 2010
It is not a good idea to give out personal information, not even if it is for a Big Mac coupon. Proof of this fact came earlier this week from McDonalds. The company issued a warning to all its customers to be on the lookout for signs of identity theft. How come? Why because one of McDonald’s marketing services partners was hacked.

“Recently McDonald’s was informed by one of its partners that limited customer information collected in connection with our promotions or websites was improperly accessed by a third party. Limited customer information such as name, address, phone number, birth date and gender was included in the information that was accessed,” said McDonald’s.


Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of Leo Burnett, managed McDonald’s database of customer names, emails, addresses, phone numbers, and other information that someone could use for identity theft. All this information has been compromised because the database containing this information was hacked. It wasn’t Arc Worldwide that was hacked, but e-mail marketing provider Silverpop Systems, which was hired by Arc Worldwide to manage that database.

“When we recently detected suspicious activity in a small percentage of our customer accounts, we took aggressive measures to stop that activity and prevent future attempts. Among other things, we unilaterally changed all passwords to protect customer accounts and engaged the FBI’s cybercrime division. It appears Silverpop was among several technology providers targeted as part of a broader cyber attack. We have notified all customers impacted by this activity,” explained Silverpop Systems.

There’s an upside to this story, and that upside is the fact that no credit card or social security numbers were included in the compromised database. McDonald’s does not collect such information and would never ask you to provide such information. So if you get an email that claims to originate from McDonald’s and that email asks for personal and financial information, do no respond.

Tags: McDonald's, Arc Worldwide, Silverpop, Database, Hack
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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