Target Store Customers Credit Cards Exposed as Data From 40 Million Stolen

business, technology, target, 40 million cards, data theft

There is an alert for in-store Target customers that shopped during the time-frame of November 27th and December 15th. Data was breached from up to 40 million cards. The cards that were targeted went beyond the Target branded card, it encompasses debit and varying credit cards, including Visa, AMEX and MasterCard. Target just released a statement today, advising that authorities and financial institutions have been made aware of the issue.

During one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year, many customers prefer to go in store to prevent identity theft from online purchases. It seems Target’s website did not come under attack, instead the data lifted was specifically from in-store shoppers. With over 1,700 stores in the United States and 124 locations in Canada, this breach strikes a stark feeling of trepidation.

Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chief executive states that customers should be aware that Target has “swiftly” addressed the issue so “guests can shop with confidence.” With over 40 million possible cards accessed, many consumers are not feeling confident about the statement. A spokesperson for the Secret Service confirmed the exposure of data, but refused to comment, citing the pending investigation.

In disappointing news, it wasn’t Target who originally broke the news about the breach. Security expert, Brian Krebs took to his blog KrebsonSecurity, to advise financial sources were in contact regarding the breach which extended to nearly every single Target location, nationally. Executives at Target originally stated the breach was minimal and possibly occurred from Thanksgiving to December 6. Reports released today contradict that statement and drives further angst for consumers.

Target CEO Steinhafel states consumers should be "confident" to resume shopping
Target CEO Steinhafel states consumers should feel “confident” to resume shopping

While Target is not the first retailer to come under data attacks, their lack of initial response is rubbing negatively for many consumers. Speaking to Donna, a long-time Target shopper who carries a branded Target card and AMEX, expressed her anger at the situation:

Why is this a first I am hearing about this? I received no mailing from Target to let me know what the hell happened?! These retailers are getting out of control and continue to show why I better go shop local instead of some idiot stating ‘hey feel calm, keep buying from us.’ No thanks!

Reaching out to a local Target also revealed that some employees on the front-line were unaware of the issue. An employee who requested to be unnamed, showed concern and considered leaving early from work.

Customers get angry and corporate is not in front of them. We are. The cashiers are and we have to deal with them making comments, yelling and handling the complaints. It was pretty irresponsible for corporate to either not share the information or worse, our managers not sharing it with us. I mean some of us, like me, have family who uses credit cards to shop here. I don’t even know what to say.

Currently, the details of the breach remain, at best, scattered as Target and officials involved in the case are declining to elaborate. Target states they have reached out to a third-party forensics firm to determine what may had happened. For now customers are left to wonder “what next?” as they consider their shopping habits throughout the remainder of the holiday season.

Customers who suspect any signs of unauthorized activity can contact Target at the number displayed at the end of this article. Customers can be aware that is not a new issue when handling credit and debit card information. Retailers T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Bob’s Stores handled their own significant breach in 2007. Over 45 million affected cards were targeted for data information. During that time, security experts were advising customers to have their cards replaced and to reach out to credit bureaus for alerts on their credit reports.

Information is expected to update as released. Guardian Liberty Voice will update Target consumers as details release. For now, it has been listed that 40 million credit and debit cards are vulnerable to the data theft. The breach happened for in-store customers, Target is reporting that online customers were not targeted, if that information changes, this article will be updated. Authorities on the case advise they are working diligently to piece the information together and locate the culprit(s).

 

Angelina Bouc

For customers who suspect unauthorized activity, contact Target 866-852-8680

Sources
Target Press Room
Krebs on Security
Biz Journals

 

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