The initial security and credit card breach of the 40 million people who shopped at Target just after Thanksgiving has nearly doubled.
When the breach happened, credit and debit card holders were told that the cyber criminals did not get personal information, but just credit and debit card numbers, which they quickly duplicated into phony cards and began selling all over the globe.
Those numbers and the subsequent data that was stolen is one of the largest security breaches of retail data, and those numbers have increased tenfold. The data violation at Target stores has now been estimated to affect some 70 million customers.
In addition to the number of customers affected came new information that was released Friday, that those criminals also obtained the personal information of customers, including names, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses from an estimated 70 million customers who could have shopped at stores outside of the original time frame of Nov. 27 to mid-December.
Now we learn that the data theft has gone beyond Target, as credit card companies and banks have begun issuing warnings about potential fraud to all of their customers, and is sending out new cards and account numbers as a precautionary measure. Some banks have limited cash withdrawals.
Banks, as well as customers, are monitoring the accounts regularly, and the Secret Service and the Justice Department have opened an investigation.
“This will impact many Target business partners — Visa, MasterCard and the host of banks and credit agencies that now have to keep an eye on the 110 million customers now vulnerable to identity theft,” said Hemu Nigam, founder of SSP Blue, a security and privacy consulting firm. “It affects more than Target customers. It affects mortgage lenders and car sales. It affects the entire economic infrastructure.”
The company apologized again on Friday for the ever increasing problems in relation to this security breach.
“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,” Gregg W. Steinhafel, Target’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Tips on what to do if you have been affected can be found at the Target website.
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