Safeway Customers Received a Bogus Email Announcing a Huge Price Increase and a Suggestion they Shop Elsewhere
Imagine getting an email from your grocery store telling you that they were going to increase their prices by 25% and that perhaps you should shop somewhere else.
This is exactly what happened to over 1,000 Safeway customers in Britain, on August 9, 2000.
The sender of the email did appear to be Safeway. And the email was signed “from the Safeway team.” The customers were told:
“We are pleased to announce from Monday Safeway will be increasing prices on all our good by 25%. If this doesn’t sound good to you then you can p*** off to another supermarket chain such as Tesco or Sainsbury.”
Safeway stores were flooded with calls about the email, much to the embarrassment and chagrin of Safeway managers and corporate heads. A spokesman from Safeway said, “The message does seem to have been sent out by our own computer system.”
This incident is often reported to be an email security breach perpetrated by a hacker who breached Safeway’s security and gained access to its email customer list of over 25,000 shoppers. However, it was never determined whether the hoax came from outside or inside. It may well have been a disgruntled employee who sent the email.
Safeway shut down its website for several months following the incident.