By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Globe’s credit-card mess

Good thing the Web site set up by the Boston Globe so that you can determine whether your credit-card number has been ripped off doesn’t require you to enter, you know, your credit-card number. Fool me twice and all that.

Anyway, here’s the cheery message I received when I entered my phone number and zip code:

Yes, we have located your name on the list of impacted accounts. We have tried to recover as much of the data as possible from our retailers and branches, but we recommend that you monitor your bills and report any unauthorized transactions to your bank or credit card company immediately. As a further precaution, we also recommend that you place a fraud alert on your credit file. If you have further questions, please contact The Globe hotline at 1-888-665-2644.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that this incident may cause.

Good grief. In protest, Media Nation is linking only to the Boston Herald’s account of this idiotic screw-up.

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Free speech for me …


  1. Anonymous

    Dan, when, exactly, did this newspaper that I grew up reading voraciously, and looked forward to spending most of my Sunday afternoons with, start to flat-out suck? (Excuse my language. That’s the only word I can think of that fits the state of the Boston Globe these days). Was there one definable moment or has it been a long string of miscues? Can they do anything right?

  2. Berto

    Why not read the newspaper online? I know a lot of people aren’t computer literate, or prefer to read the paper during their commute, so maybe a printed copy of the news works better for them. But for the most part, everyone else reads the paper either at home or in the office. So why not read it online? It’s free and has all the same information.I haven’t subscribed to the Globe for years, because the online format is just more convenient. Because of that, I didn’t lose any credit card information. It’s the future of the paper, whether they’re willing to accept it or not. But gaffes like this are only driving paper-and-ink readers away.

  3. Linus Van Pelt

    Good Grief! Of all the Charlie Brown’s in the world, the Globe is the Charlie Brownest.

  4. adamg

    Also give ’em credit for putting that page behind SSL so your information is encrypted when finding out if your credit-card info got on a routing slip (which mine did, wunnerful).

  5. R. Scott Buchanan

    @Berto: a lot of people, including a number of my colleagues (most of whom are programmers) have trouble reading text on screen for long stretches of time. Even when reading at work, these people need/want something with better ergonomics than a computer screen. Combined with the visceral appeal of being able to sit on the sofa with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper, and there’s still a market for dead-tree editions.

  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for the alert Dan. I ahd assumed that when they said “Worcester County” I was safe … when I saw you in Essex County were affected, I realized that Suffolk County (so close to the plant) could well be involved too. So I checked. So now we get to take paranoid steps too. *sigh*Are they perhaps now erring on the side of caution (or just erring?) by telling anyone who checks they’re affected? Did anyone NOT get a “you’re hosed” message?Thanks.Bill [usual last initial omitted this time!]

  7. Anonymous

    I’m in Essex county and am supposedly not impacted:No, we have not been able to locate your name on the list of impacted accounts but you are in our database as a subscriber.It’s thinner than it used to be but the Globe is too easy a target these days. I’m with r. scott–count me among those who can’t read online for a long time. I’m already in front of the damn computer too much. I read the paper in a comfy chair, in the sun, with my coffee. Likewise with anything else longer than a couple of pages. More pleasant, and easier on the eyebones.

  8. Mike Stucka

    My Watertown CC number was impacted. I had a faint moment of hope when it said my cell phone number was fine; but then I tried home phone.Needless to say, the Globe was on automatic charges to my credit card — the one canceled since 6 minutes after I found out I was SOL. I wonder how many customer-service folks the twit management will need to hire to chase down people like me not running to them with new credit card numbers when the monthly renewal time rolls around?If nothing else, this could be a boon to low-education Boston-area workers.

  9. mike_b1

    Not to worry Mike. When I called to cancel my Amex, I asked what the most recent charge was. It was the Globe, on Jan 31. The other irony is that I had cancelled my subscription the first week in January after three late or missed papers in a row.

  10. Anonymous

    A quote from the Globe website:“Can I pay for home delivery with my credit or debit card?You can charge your subscription on your Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card. Simply enter your credit card information on our secure order form.”I sure am glad that the order form is secure.This is a company which has experienced a number of lay-offs and labor reductions lately. Perhaps this wasn’t just an accident?

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