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Members of the Colonel’s Club KFC loyalty program received an email that has become one of the biggest fears in today’s digitally connected world: Hackers may have gained access to their personally identifiable information. The warning email was sent to 1.2 million customers in the U.K. after reports that some accounts had been compromised during an attack on the QSR brand’s website.
“Our monitoring systems have found a small number of Colonel’s Club accounts may have been compromised as a result of our website being targeted,” read the email sent to potentially hacked members. “Whilst it’s unlikely you have been impacted, we advise that you change your password as a precaution.”
No payment information was stored in the app, saving customers at least one headache, but the threat of information like home address, full name, and password being compromised is, undoubtedly, enough to cause consumers hesitation in engaging digitally with the brand going forward.
KFC has been among the most technologically progressive QSR brands, riding the wave of mobile payment to offer increased convenience to customers separate from the Colonel’s Club app. With this latest development, the brand must now take into account potential reluctance for this kind of interaction and a potential hit to program enrollment.
The concept of loyalty program security is one that has risen to greater prominence in recent years. Due to increased reliance on digital connectivity, customers are more willing to provide information in the interest of personalization or simply convenience. The downside of sharing this data has become reality on several occasions, reintroducing some hesitancy back into the minds of consumers. To ease members’ nerves, KFC assured email recipients that it would be shoring up security in the wake of the hack.
“As this type of problem is becoming more common online, we’ve now introduced additional security measures to further safeguard our members’ accounts and to stop this kind of thing from happening again,” continued the email.
As more loyalty programs enter the mobile space, this hack is surely far from the last to hit members of programs around the world. The question, however, remains for shoppers and brands alike: How long will consumers see these situations as a necessary evil before they become more protective of data?
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