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U.S. Justice Department investigates Target breach

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Following news that stolen credit and debit card information from Target's security breach is being bought and sold on the black market, the U.S. Department of Justice is stepping in to investigate, the Star Tribune reports.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the newspaper that the retailer's general counsel is scheduled to discuss the breach with state attorneys via conference call Monday.

Brian Krebs, the same security blogger that broke the news about the breach, learned Friday that some of the stolen card information has been "flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card.”

Illegal "card shops" sell the data from the magnetic stripe of each card, Krebs said. Thieves then re-encode that data onto a counterfeit card and go shopping for items that can easily be resold.

Krebs said in his latest blog post that crooks are targeting cards issued by non-U.S. banks that were used at U.S. Target stores during the breach.

In a news release issued Monday, Target said it's working with the Secret Service along with the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the malware that affected the retailer's point-of-sale system, jeopardizing 40 million credit and debit card accounts.

Concerned customers continue to inundate Target's call centers with inquiries, but the retailer says unless fraudulent activity is apparent, there is no need to call.

Some Minnesota banks took a proactive approach and issued new cards to customers whose records showed they used their cards at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Other banks and card issuers like Wells Fargo say they are monitoring cardholder accounts for unusual patterns and activity, the Star Tribune reports.

Al Pascual, security risk and fraud analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research, told the newspaper, "If we had to replace a card for every breach, you’d get a new card every month.”

In a move to get customers back in stores, Target offered a 10 percent discount to holiday shoppers over the weekend. Although parking lots at Twin Cities stores were packed, National Public Radio reports business was down 3 to 4 percent.

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