40 Million Target Customers' Credit, Debit Card Accounts May Hav - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

40 Million Target Customers' Credit, Debit Card Accounts May Have Been Breached

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Travis Fisher, Inacom Travis Fisher, Inacom

WMDT 47 News - The nation's number two retail store with that familiar red bull's eye, has become the target of a massive security breach.

Forty Million customers who used credit or debit cards at almost every Target store in the country may have had their information stolen.

"I just think it's crazy. It makes me a little nervous about having a credit card," Victoria Sperry of Salisbury said.

"This was a very sophisticated attack and probably one of the more lucrative and complex attacks that modern technology has ever seen," cyber security expert and executive vice president of Inacom Information Systems Travis Fisher said.

The attack began two days before Black Friday and lasted through December 15 -- one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.

"You wouldn't think that coming to a place like this that would happen," Clarence Matthews of Salisbury said.

Well, no one knows for sure how this happened yet, but experts speculate hackers broke into the company's computer network and stole the data when customers swiped.

"Not only had to breach Target's security measures, but they also had to intercept the payment information in some way. Typically if it's encrypted inside of a database, it's very hard to recover. But sometimes organizations will take payment information and other sensitive information, and they don't encrypt it as it traverses across their own internal network," Fisher said.

According to Target representatives, your name, credit or debit card number, expiration date and even the three digit security code on the back may have been compromised.

"I'm mostly a cash person for those reasons," Kathy Cross of Dagsboro said.

Expect more, Pay Less. A brand slogan customers like David Mason are now questioning.

"It's kind of scary because you go to stores and you trust everything you buy is going to be safe and secure --and they've got policies already in line to protect you," he said.

The breach did not affect purchases made online. Target says the issue has been resolved and the Secret Service is reportedly investigating the incident.

If you made an in-store purchase at any time between November 27 and December 15, check your account for any suspicious activity. If you find anything unusual, contact your financial institution immediately. You can also call the Federal Trade Commission or police to report incidents of identity theft.

Try to stick to cash when making in-store purchases, but if you only have plastic, pay with a credit card instead of debit card – it's easier to take fraudulent purchases off your account with credit card companies.  Look into subscribing to a credit monitoring or credit restoration service like LifeLock or LegalShield.

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