Popular retailer Target has just confirmed that a hack could have compromised the credit card information for up to 40 million customers that have shopped in its US stores between November 27th and December 15th of 2013.
Target has also confirmed that the information stolen includes everything the thieves would need to be able to make fraudulent purchases with the credit card. That means that the customer name, credit or debit card number, the expiration date, and the CVV (the number on the back of the card used for verification purposes) has all been taken. This is notable in that many breaches only let out some of the information, keeping shoppers relatively safe, but in this case, the thieves have everything but the physical card itself.
As one might expect, an investigation is underway, and Target says it is working with “a leading” forensics firm to figure out the cause of the issue. It is also working with the firm to determine the best methods of preventing another massive security breach like this from occurring again.
The hole has been fixed, so any purchases made at Target after December 15th are safe. However, with the massive amount of shopping that takes place between the November 27th and December 15th, that is only a small consolation. It’s also worth noting that this only causes a problem for US-based Target stores. Those in Canada and the online portion of the retailer are safe.
As for what you can do if you shopped there between those dates, your options are pretty slim. The best course of action is to simply monitor your credit and debit card statements closely for any fraudulent charges, and should one pop up, notify your financial institution immediately to make sure it is resolved.