Woolworths Leaks More Than $1 Million In Gift Cards In Massive Data Breach

Woolworths of Australia had a massive data leak on Saturday that included customer personal information and passwords to redeem $1 million worth of gift cards.

As the Herald Sun reports, the Australian supermarket chain discovered it had mistakenly emailed the redeemable codes of almost 8,000 gift cards to customers who had purchased them from discount website Groupon last week.

The email included an Excel spreadsheet that disclosed customer names and email addresses as well as a link to gift card vouchers totalling $1,308,505.

More than 1,000 people were able to access all of the codes and begin shopping with the gift card vouchers immediately. The cards were redeemable at Woolworths, BIG W, and Caltex gas stations.

According to Yahoo7 News, Woolworths would not reveal how many people had been impacted by the leak, or how it happened, but said they were investigating. A spokesperson for Woolworths described the cause of the data breach as a “technical fault.”

“Woolworths takes the concerns of its customers and data security seriously. We experienced a technical fault with an e-voucher offered to customers this week. We are working to resolve the issue and are assisting customers.”

Fairfax Media has obtained a copy of the email which contained an excel spreadsheet with the names and email address of thousands of customers and a downloadable link to 7,941 gift card vouchers, worth a total of $1,308,505.

Some customers found their gift cards had essentially been stolen when they went to use them. People reported they had logged onto the Woolworths site on Saturday only to discover their gift cards had already been spent.

One customer said he decided to check the balance on his 10 giftcards, worth $1,900, on the Woolworths website after he realized other customers had probably been emailed the same excel spreadsheet with the links to his vouchers. Two of his gift cards had already been used.

Another customer said three of his $200 vouchers had been spent by the time he received the email.

A third customer said he “was embarrassed in front of a large number of people” after he attempted to buy his weekly groceries using his gift cards in a Woolworths store on Saturday, only to be told by staff he was using stolen cards.

“They took my money from my credit card and told me I was using stolen cards. I could not take the trolley of groceries home as I did not have enough money to pay. I tried to call Woolworths but no one picked up the phone. I have had a very very horrible day.”

On Saturday evening, affected customers received an email from Woolworths advising them the gift cards had been cancelled.

[Image via Quinn Rooney/ Getty Images.]