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Target finds data breach affected millions more customer than first thought

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A security breach at Target has affected tens of millions of consumers across the country during arguably some of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Today Target said hackers have gotten a hold of more information then the retailer first thought.

From Black Friday to Dec. 15 Target says hackers stole credit and debit card information of 40 million customers.

"With it being right around Christmas time, we were really concerned all of the money would be wiped out of our bank account," said Olivia Bass-Stafford, a Target shopper in Wilmington.

Friday the retailer said the breach is more extensive than initially though. Now the company says the crooks stole personal info, including names, addresses, e-mails and phone numbers, of 70 million more shoppers.

It is all prompting some Target Red Card holders who have not been affected thus far to keep a close eye on their bank accounts.

"We're still monitoring it just in case," Bass-Stafford said.

Alanna McHugh says this is an example why she has never applied for a Target-issued card.

"I just don't trust security in this day and age. It's too vunerable," she said.

Target says the newly-discovered theft is not a new breach, but was uncovered as part of its ongoing investigation.

"My sister-in-law was affected," Target shopper Kelly Whiteheart said. "That's when I started thinking maybe I should look into it, but as of now, I haven't heard anything."

To give customers peace of mind, Target is offering customers one free year of credit monitoring as well as identity theft protection to all customers who shopped at us stores.

"I think it's good, and it gives me peace of mind to know that my credit is OK," Bass-Stafford said.

Target also says customers will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges.

Target says it discovered where the hackers attacked the system and that entry has been closed.

We reached out to Target's corporate office, but have not heard back yet.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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The real big brother

This whole thing should, if nothing else, make people more aware of what information is being collected about them. Based on the information that has gotten out about this, Target was storing far more information from the cards than they were supposed to. I would have said needed, but in fact, Target "needs" this information for their own purposes, which really have nothing to so with collecting the money for your purchase from the credit card companies.

What many may not know is that Target collects a tremendous amount of information, and actually does analytics to track EVERY customer's buying habits, and predict how to market to you, and profit from sharing your information with other companies. Target customers are assigned a unique ID number based on information extracted from your credit cards, and their ability to access public and private databases. This is why they are supposedly giving a year's worth of credit monitoring. If it was simply compromised credit card numbers - like someone got hold of one or more of your credit cards - swap the cards out, and no risk to consumer or bank. They have MUCH more info that was compromised. Name, address, phone number, DL number, SS number in the case of Target card holders.

For example, they have it down to such a science that they can predict accurately when a woman is pregnant, and are able to determine "when" she became pregnant. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html

Target isn't unique in this. All these stores that have "shopper cards" do the same thing. They know who you are based on what you put on the form for the card. Many companies share this information, and your history. So regardless of what store you use your "loyalty" card at in this "pool", all members get that history.

Remember this: No one needs your DL number or SS number except entities that can verify them. Banks and government entities are example of those that might ask for and need the numbers. Stores (except for credit apps for store cards, which is bad anyway), doctors, etc. do not need them. To avoid argument, create a number with the right number of digits. If they can't verify it, they didn't need it anyway! Even the act of a store asking for ID when you use a signed credit card is prohibited by VISA, MC, and Amex to the extent that their merchant agreement says they can't deny the sale if a customer refuses to provide ID, and their card is signed. MasterCard even has a complaint form on their web site to report merchants that try to force you to show ID. http://www.mastercard.us/support/merchant-violations.html Showing the address where that new flat screen tv is going is always a bad idea. Some people think that forcing ID is okay. I don't. The credit card companies are directly at risk for any fraud, so they probably know what process is best at reducing it. One thing that IS a big no-no according to all the card issuers that Target violated is storing the card unique validation codes anywhere.

I would not be surprised if

I would not be surprised if the hacker was someone from Walmart.

Does Wal-Mart have any

Does Wal-Mart have any employees smart enough to be a hacker?

target

I don't even use my debit card anymore. I use credit cards and pay them off at the end of the month. If your debit is stolen most banks will not cover you for the fraudulent charges, all credit cards will cover you. Had my credit card # stolen at a nice hotel in Raleigh a few years ago, it was skimmed and shared to someone in Va,Ga and New Mexico. In NM it was used at Sams club where someone was trying to buy flat screens, it was flagged there. Obviously I couldnt have been in 3 states in 3 hours. Called the hotel to tell them they had a thief, they didnt seem to care. I know many people who have had both Credit Cards and debit cards skimmed. Its out of control and unless a large group is busted for it nothing gets done.

Trust Target?

How can we trust what they say? I am betting everyones pin numbers are out there. Target could have simply issued new account numbers and that would have solved the breach. Instead they chose not to take a chance on upsetting their revenue stream and let us take the risk. Trust them? I don't think so.

Target Can't Do That

Target can't re-issue your bank cards.

Totally agree

Their reticence to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth speaks volumes about how they view their customer base. Makes no sense to continue to do business with an untrustworthy vendor.

As they say: "Once burned, shame on you. Twice burned, shame on me."