In December, retail giant Target Brands, Inc. revealed it had suffered a data breach affecting approximately 40 million customers across the country. The breach occurred between November 27 and December 15 of last year.
By January, Target released revised damage estimates, scaling up the number of customers affected. Now estimating that between 70 million and 100 million U.S. consumers could be affected, Target has admitted that hackers got hold of the following data:
- Credit card numbers
- Personal identification numbers (PINs)
- Mailing addresses
- Email addresses
- Telephone numbers
In a January 15, 2014 email to customers, Target offered free credit monitoring for a year, noting the following:
- “Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information…was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.”
Despite efforts taken by Target, stolen credit card numbers are being sold on the black market and can be used to create fake credit accounts. Personal information could be used to commit identity theft, and Target faces multiple lawsuits for mishandling personal information.
At present, approximately 30 state governments across the United States are investigating the data breach, considered to be the second largest in U.S. history. Target is circulating the following security tips along with information on registering for credit monitoring:
- Delete texts or emails from names or numbers you do not recognize.
- Do not click on links you do not recognize or provide personal information to persons who are unfamiliar to you. On the phone, ask for a callback number to verify identity.
- Be alert for emails or other communications that ask for money or refer you to websites to provide banking or other information.
If you believe your personal or financial information has been exposed because of this or another data breach, a reputable attorney in Phoenix can help you take legal action.