lcbo data breach

People in Ontario fuming after LCBO breach leaks their personal info for a second time

The LCBO has given consumers a great excuse to never provide email addresses or other personal information to retailers again after a substantial data breach that the Crown corporation says took place earlier this month, marking the second of such incidents in 2023.

According to a message sent on Wednesday to those who had signed up for promotional emails from the booze store, there was a leak "affecting a third-party service provider that involved your personal information."

The secure email blast goes on to explain that "certain LCBO subscriber data" provided to Conversion Digital, which the LCBO employs for a number of types of direct promotional communication with shoppers, was compromised.

It feels like a repeat of mid-January, when hackers infiltrated the store's website and gained access to the credit card and Aeroplan numbers, names, email and mailing addresses, and passwords of residents making an online alcohol purchase.

Understandably, people are pretty livid, many of them less about the actual information shared — this time it was mostly just names and email addresses, though postal codes, birthdays, and Aeroplan numbers may have been affected — and moreso about the principle. 

The fact that it's not the first time this has happened in recent memory makes the brand seem untrustworthy, some say, and also negligent and irresponsible.

It also further fuels the push to permit more players to enter the market, which is dominated by the LCBO and Beer Store, making for a duopoly comparable to the much-criticized telecom and grocery store industries in Canada.

The LCBO has alerted the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario about this latest issue, and warns customers to be wary of any emails that appear to be from the LCBO but which may be fraudulent.

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