Target worked to reassure consumers and clarify information regarding the data breach at its U.S. stores that made 40 million credit card and debit card accounts vulnerable to theft.
The retailer on Friday said it would provide free credit monitoring services to affected consumers. It also is beefing up its staffing at call center, which has been overwhelmed by "unprecedented volume," Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a prepared statement. Target REDcards were also affected by the breach.
Target also clarified that the card security codes that were compromised were not the ones that appear on the front or back of the cards and are used to authenticate online purchases. Instead, the affected security codes are encrypted in the magnetic strip along with the account number, customer's name and expiration date, all of which were compromised.
The retailer also reiterated that there's no indication that debit card personal identification numbers, or PINs, were affected by the breach. That means no one can use a counterfeit debit card to withdraw money from an ATM.
So far, the retailer has received few reports of actual fraud, but Target, along with the payment networks -- Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover -- and the banks are closely monitoring affected card numbers. Target is also reaching out to affected consumers directly if the retailer has their emails on file.
Consumers should also track their recent credit card and debit card purchases and call their bank if they find an unauthorized transaction. The bank will shut down the card and reissue a new one with a new number.
Affected consumers should also place a fraud alert on their Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports. This will tell lenders to double-check your identity before extending new credit. The fraud alert lasts 90 days.
How have you responded to the Target breach? Does it make you think twice about shopping there?
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