HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Retail giant Target says it is investigating a data breach involving customers’credit and debit cards information.
The Secret Service is also investigating this case.
Target says the breach could impact customers who made purchases between November 27th and December 15th.
Brian Krebs, who is identified as a respected security researcher, told CNN the breach occurred sometime around Black Friday last month and could involve credit and debit card information for millions of customers.
Target has posted a statement about the data breach on its website.
The retail giant says the compromised information includes customer names, credit or debit card numbers, the card’s expiration date and three-digit security code found on the back of the card.
Target says it is working with a third-party forensics firm as part its investigation.
“This example is a perfect one to show people that you’re never guaranteed you won’t be a victim of identity theft.,” says North Alabama BBB President Michele Mason.
“We are sure Target has put a lot of security measures in place and yet this can still happen.”
Better Business Bureau of North Alabama is sharing suggestions for Target customers who are concerned that their credit or debit cards may have been compromised by the data breach announced by the retailer this morning.
“First of all, if you used a credit card at Target in the past few weeks, don’t panic” advises Carrie Hurt, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “You are not liable for any fraudulent charges on your account, and there are some simple things you can do to make sure your card was not used fraudulently.”
“Target has already issued a warning for consumers and is working with banks and credit card issuers to alert them to which numbers were stolen,” Hurt added. “You can expect to hear from your bank if your card information is identified as having been compromised, and you can always call the customer service number on your card if you have a question.”
BBB suggests the following advice:
For those who shopped at Target with a credit card:
- Monitor your credit card statements carefully (go online; don’t wait for the paper statement).
- If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued.
- Keep receipts in case you need to prove which charges you authorized and which ones you did not.
For those who shopped at Target with a debit card:
- Do all of the above as for credit cards, but pay very careful attention to your account, as debit cards do not have the same protections as credit cards and debit transactions withdraw funds directly from your bank account. Contact your bank for more information, or if you want to pre-emptively request a new debit card or put a security block on your account.
For EVERYONE, not just those who shopped at Target:
- Beware of scammers who will likely use this highly public event to purport to be from Target, your bank or your credit card issuer, telling you that your card was compromised and suggesting actions to “fix” the problem.
- Check before you click. Phishing emails may attempt to fool you into providing your credit card information or ask you to click on a link or open an attachment, which can download malware designed to steal your identity.
- Don’t click on any email links or attachments unless you are absolutely certain the sender is authentic.
For all businesses that collect customer information:
- Make sure you protect your customers’ data. If a data breach can happen to a major retailer with significant data security measures in place, it can happen to any business.
- Check out BBB’s updated online guide Data Security – Made Simpler for free information on how to create a data security plan.
NOTE: Target is a BBB Accredited Business and a National Partner of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.