Target: Hacking hit 70 million customers

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The data breach at Target was significantly broader than originally reported: The company said Friday that 70 million customers had information such as their name, address, phone number and e-mail address hacked in the breach.

The company had previously said 40 million shoppers had their credit and debit card information stolen in the weeks following Thanksgiving.

Target said the hacking is not a new breach, but that it was discovered as part of the investigation into the theft of card information. The estimate of 70 million customers who had information stolen is in addition to the 40 million who had card information stolen, although there can be overlap between the two groups.

Target said some of the information stolen was partial in nature. It said it would try to reach customers for whom it has e-mail addresses to inform them of the breach. It cautioned that it would not be asking customers to provide information and warned customers not to provide additional personal information in response to any e-mail claiming to be from Target.

"I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this," said Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel.

Customers will have zero liability for the cost of any fraudulent charges arising from the breach. Target is also offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all customers who shopped in U.S. stores. They will have three months to enroll in the program. More information on that offer will be available next week.

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Experts suggest that customers who used debit or credit cards at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 should contact their card issuer and get a new card with a new account number. They should also change their PIN. And they should monitor their account carefully for any questionable purchases.

The hacking of other personal information won't necessarily allow thieves access to customers' bank or credit card accounts. But it does put them at greater risk for identity theft. They should be be more alert to the possibility of scam e-mails or text messages, especially those that ask for personal information. But there is also a risk that thieves can use the information to try to create new accounts in a customers name. So using the credit monitoring and identity theft protection service is therefore a good idea.

Target also said Friday that sales had been stronger than expected, but fell sharply after the hacking news. Target warned that sales and profits for the current quarter would be lower than expected because of that loss of consumer confidence.

By Chris Isidore

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • ByeByeToTheRite

    How did this happen? This is an INSIDE job and Target just won’t admit that. Well, this is the same company who took their case to the Supreme Court to ensure they, as a multi-billion dollar company, could contribute to Republican Tea Party candidates who were sure to favor them in all legislation, so giant corporations could have the same rights to contribute as “people”. So Target became a person! Remember that? So we know they are sleezy, anyway, so it’s not a stretch to think they may be LYING about this. Inside job, definitely. I’d be looking closely at those Indians and other foreigners from Middle East and Asian countries they hired to avoid paying Americans decent salaries. I’m confident they’d find the culprit! But they’ll never do that – too much liability. So they’ll lie and pretend it was “outside hackers” to the end.

  • Carolyn Finder

    Called Target’s 800 number yesterday, and was told by a rep that there have been NO cases of compromised cards, just cards that “could have been” and Target wasn’t offering anything to customers who have had info taken. I was also told that this is what you “get” when you use debit/credit cards at merchants. (in other words, it’s a risk you take. She also claimed to be a supervisor, and said there was no one else I could talk to. Sooooo not true!

  • Whatever Target!

    I called Target’s 800 number and FINALLY got through. The guy with the strong accent from another country asked me in broken english ‘why did I want to cancel my debit card’. At this point, I wondered if I had the correct number. I am no upset about the ‘breach’, ‘the inside job’ or whatever you want to call it….. I was upset about not being able to reach someone to cancel my Target issued debit card. Instead of Target offering 10% discount to lure people into their stores, they should have been hiring folks speaking english (not broken english) to cancel Target issued debit/credit cards.

  • Carol

    Target needs to step up to the plate . . . NOW, not later. And, I really don’t care if Target’s profits might (should!) take a slide downhill after all this. It is NOT our job to keep Target up and running, even though many who shop Target don’t have a job! And please note that many who shop Target are spending their Minimum Wage, or their Unemployment Benefits. Again, Target needs to step up to the plate immediately and give the consumers the attention we gave them in terms of our hard earned dollars, no matter what pay scale or amount of income. Long story short, Target is a rip off, and did not tend to their “cash cow”, that being me and you. I appreciate that the First Lady also buys from Target, but many of Target’s customers make Minimum Wage, or are UNEMPLOYED with or without Unemployment Benefits, or are Senior citizens on a very limited income. It is not my job to support Target; rather, the reverse. We are The People, and this is happening to us so very much more than it is happening to Target.

  • Carol

    Me, again. Someone needs to hammer down on this sort of thing, as in, hmm???… the Government? Are there no Standards in the U.S. for maintaining security in the realm of Every Day Commerce, such as when you go to buy food or clothing?? What are the standards of how money is exchanged between the consumer and the so called provider/vendor/banker?? The result of Target’s cheap “security system” is almost like the current news today about what really happened to investor’s money, and I wonder if it was just Madoff, but I think that now the bank is being held accountable for lack of scrutiny. Why did the bank not see it, and was the bank also capitalizing, or just turning their heads the other way? Is the bank responsible for what flows through? Why would your turn your head the other way? Could it be, hmm? profit? I have no idea, no answer, just very many questions. I think they said it was JP Morgan Chase, maybe? I do not know; I don’t have very much money. I would just like to know what is being allowed to happen to all of us, whether we are Minimum Wage, Unemployed, or a Millionaire – we are all American citizens, and what’s going on now “ain’t gonna cut it on this ball team”. It’s no good, and collectively, we have to make it better.

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