Skip to main content

Should you cancel your card? Questions linger following Target breach

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A massive data breach that exposed credit and debit card information of 40 million Target customers has many asking how they can protect themselves from identity theft.

Concerned customers overwhelmed Target's call centers, website and social media channels Thursday with inquiries. Many were unable to access Target REDcard accounts online or experienced long wait times over the phone.

Those that used their debit or credit card, both Target-issued and otherwise, at U.S. Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 have been advised to check their accounts for unauthorized transactions – a potential consequence of the massive breach.

A Minnesota bank went as far as canceling the debit cards of 180 customers, KARE 11 reports. Wadena State Bank issued new cards to customers whose records showed they used their cards at Target during the three-week period.

In Duluth, bank managers are recommending that affected Target customers do the same.

“The proper step to take is to close that card,” Dale Lewis, president and CEO of Park State Bank, told the Duluth News Tribune.

Experts say customers who used a credit card have more protection from fraudulent use than debit card users, the Chicago Tribune reported – but it's best to err on the side of caution and get a new card.

Mark McCurley, senior information security adviser for Scottsdale, Arizona-based IDT911 Consulting, a company that does data breach prevention and post-breach analysis, told the Chicago Tribune he also used a debit card at Target during the timespan of the breach. He just requested a new debit card and PIN number.

"That's how seriously I'm taking the matter," McCurley said.

Those who choose to not replace cards should monitor statements carefully, as the consequences of the breach could affect accounts months from now.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said Thursday that the data breach was identified on Dec. 15 and subsequently resolved. But how the breach occurred is still being investigated.

The stolen information includes names, card numbers, expiration dates and the three-digit security codes on the back of cards. A Target spokesperson told USA TODAY that there's no indications that debit card PIN numbers were accessed.

Target has not said whether any of its customers have lost money due to the illegal access. The company, however, will likely face hefty fines from card issuers over the breach and spend millions fixing what went wrong.

“Whatever money Target thought they were going to get during the holiday season just got flushed down the data-breach toilet,” John Kindervag, an analyst and data security expert at Forrester, told the Washington Post.

The company can also expect legal fees after a California woman filed a lawsuit Thursday, claiming that Target failed to maintain and implement reasonable security procedures and practices, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The defendant is seeking class-action status.

Next Up

Pixabay - laptop computer dark screen

19 years in prison for Plymouth man who produced child porn

He used Instagram and other programs to exploit minors.

redington mushing sled dog

Sled dog team hit by snowmobile in hit-and-run in Wisconsin

One dog had to have surgery after breaking his leg in three places.

lanesboro minnesota

Southern Minnesota city named most stunning small town in MN

And it ranks No. 42 out of 50 on the ranking of each state's stunning towns.

duluth police

Threat forces Duluth school into lockdown

Police K9s searched the school before it was given the all clear.

wayzata east middle school

Suspect steals keys from woman at Wayzata school, drives off in her car

It happened during a basketball game at Wayzata East Middle School in Plymouth.

money hundred dollar bills

Defense attorney sentenced to workhouse for swindling client

She told the client he was facing 15-20 years in prison unless he stumped up more cash.

Mike Zimmer

Mike Zimmer's Vikings tenure was pockmarked by disputes with staff

Mike Zimmer's "my way or the highway" approach didn't work out in the end.

child vaccine pexels

Walz announces $200 reward for families who get kids aged 5-11 vaccinated

It's the latest incentive program launched by the State of Minnesota.

Ben dapper

Hockey community rallies around player who's fighting cancer

They sent him off with a show of support on Sunday.

tesla

Tesla commits to buying nickel from proposed Minnesota mine

The mine has yet to go through the permitting process.

covid-19, coronavirus, ICU

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 11

Minnesota has set a new statewide record high test positivity rate.

Related