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Target reveals more data was stolen in breach

Target revealed on Friday that the data breach late last year got away with 70-110 million customers
Target revealed on Friday that the data breach late last year got away with 70-110 million customers' data.
— image credit: Contributed

Popular retailer Target announced that the data breach it experienced late last year was larger than the company first expected as it discovered that more customer data was stolen than they first believed.

It’s now believed that those responsible for the data breach got away with 70-110 million customers’ data. Target’s initial admission was that hackers only got away with sensitive card information of customers who actually shopped in Target stores. The new revelation on Friday had Target admitting that information the retailer collected about customers over time, including mailing and email addresses, phone numbers and names, was also stolen.

“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 Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO. “I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.”

The breach has had a significant impact on Target’s financial outlook, with the company noting that the announcement of the breach caused “meaningfully weaker-than-expected sales.” Before the breach, the company had touted a positive outlook for the last quarter of 2013.

Locally, Federal Way residents seemed mostly indifferent to the issue, with only one person responding to The Mirror’s Facebook page as of Jan. 10. For Melodie Hardwick, the issue is mostly a non-issue, because the only interaction she has with Target is through her Target card, she wrote.

“This isn’t the first company I’ve done business with that had a major data breach. I do wonder what the nature of the breach was though, and hope to hear more about how it was pulled off. I only use my Target card there anyway, so I feel like the risk to me is pretty minimal. It will be easy to notice any unauthorized purchases,” she wrote.

Mirror reader Joan Hammond said she stopped shopping at Target a while ago, although for different reasons, citing the company’s cutting of ties with the Salvation Army. Aileen Calor wrote simply, “I love Target.”

For those who have been affected by the breach, Target is offering a variety of services, including one free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all customers who ever shopped in U.S. Target stores. Those who believe they may have been affected are asked to call 1-866-852-8680 for more information or can visit www.target.com.

With these measures, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is already sounding the alarm that scammers are on the loose, trying to gain personal information from Target customers.

In a Jan. 10 press release, Ferguson’s office warned that “phishing emails have already appeared offering ‘free’ Target gift cards and Target-related credit card monitoring.”

These emails “typically mention ‘Target’ in an email that directs consumers to a website with ‘Target’ in its URL.” Ferguson’s office is advising consumers to “not give out personal information to someone who wants to contact you before going directly to Target’s website to confirm the presented information is correct.”

 

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