A reader just submitted to us an email that was sent to him supposedly by Target as an apology for the stolen credit card data that had been used at their brick and mortar stores at the end of November. As far as we can tell, this is a hoax – and not a particularly sophisticated one. We strongly recommend that you delete this message and that you do not click on any of the links.

The sender of the suspicious email is (the ‘From‘ field): ThankYou

The subject is: Get a 100$ Target Gift Now!

There are several mistakes in just these two fields!

  • If anyone from Target was sending email messages to anyone for any reason, the ‘From’ field would have their contact info, and not ‘ThankYou’. The sender contact email is masked and does not go to Target!
  • Not putting a space in ThankYou (it should be Thank You) is a typo – one that a corporation the size of Target would not make is such an important communication.
  • Since this is a message to customers who used their cards in actual US stores, we would expect that the dollar sign would come before the amount in the subject line ($100).

Once you notice this many errors in a supposed message from any company, we recommend that you delete the message. If you have any questions about its veracity, then open your browser, type in the url of the company and contact them to ask about it. Do NOT click on any links. It gets even sloppier when you get into the message itself. (See below for more.)

  • There is no salutation at the beginning of the message.
  • There is no company branding in the email. It is strange for a company to not brand messages to its customers.
  • The title line is messed up. Why is the super script question mark next to the first word Target?
  • Corporate messaging always – always – is consistent within the message. Note that the ‘From’ field says ‘ThankYou’ but the first line in the text of the email says (We’re Sorry!!!). That’s not coherent messaging. Why are they thanking us? And, what’s with the parentheses around the supposed apology?? Are we really supposed to believe that Target would give us a parenthetical apology?
  • The text of the message is not idiomatically correct! In fact, each of the sentences has problems that jump out of the page.
  • Do not be fooled by the feedback question about how often you shop at Target. (And why the two question marks at the end of the sentence?) The link to this goes to the same place as do the other link in the email.
  • The CEO’s ‘signature’ is above the closing ‘Sincerely,’ .
  • Neither the ‘reply to’ email address, or any of the 9 links within the email message go to a Target address or url.
Target hoax email

Text of the Target hoax email. Notice the sloppiness and strange spacing and several typos.

Again, we stress that you have every right to worry whenever you find errors in any corporate correspondence. One typo is reason enough for pause. Several typos are almost a dead giveaway that something is very wrong. If you have any questions about its veracity, then go to the company’s site and contact them to ask about it. Do NOT click on any links.

Here, on Target’s own website, is a legitimate message from CEO Gregg Steinhafel.