About a year ago, TD Ameritrade customers began receiving spam sent to email addresses used only with that company. TD Ameritrade admitted customers’ contact information had been compromised. Reading in between the lines, the recent announcement of a database breach at Ameritrade seems to be the same event. From what I can tell from Ameritrade’s answers, this same breach has been occurring for several years.
Unfortunately, the issue of SPAM is an industry issue that has been increasing over the past few years. There are many different SPAM campaigns that affect almost every person with an email address. We were investigating a stream of stock-related SPAM sent to our clients when we discovered this particular issue. The investigation had been going on for some time.
The only customers not affected by the breach are those who have registered later than July 18 this year. Those affected have received spam in the email accounts related to stocks.
Ameritrade is reassuring customers that no sensitive information was leaked. The only damage is the increase of spam messages and any price fluctuations of stock due to customers’ actions based on the spam emails.
Even though I don’t have an Ameritrade account, I get a large number of emails pushing stocks. I’ve trained my email software to discard most of the junk before I see it, so it’s only a minor annoyance. The bigger problem is the fact that a company could let this security breach continue for several years.
Updated June 20, 2014 and originally published September 17, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.