ATLANTA -- One of the largest credit card security breaches in the past six years happened on one of the busiest shopping days of the year at Target.
Anyone who used a credit or debit card while shopping at Target during that time may have been compromised. The breach was first revealed in an online blog before Target put out a statement acknowledging it happened.
|Target Update December 20th, reaching out to customers|
Any customer who swiped their cards at one of Target's nearly 1,800 stores nationwide could be vulnerable.
In the company's 2012 annual report, the retail giant said, "Data security breaches ... if significant, could adversely affect our reputation and results of operations."
Target says up to 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been compromised.
Somehow, the card readers were compromised. Target says the information obtained included customers' names, credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates of cards, and the three-digit security code on the backs of charge cards.
Trey Lougran, the head of Equifax's Consumer Solutions Credit monitoring says people should be concerned.
"If you look at people who've been subject to data breaches," Loughran said. "One in four are likely to have their identity compromised.
With Target's breach, it is estimated that one of every eight credit and debit card holders in the US is affected.
Target issued a statement on Thurday.
"Your trust is a top priority for Target, and we deeply regret the inconvenience this may cause," the statement said. "The privacy and protection of our guests' information is a matter we take very seriously and we have worked swiftly to resolve the incident."
"Monitor your checking account, your credit card account, trying to monitor them on a regular basis," Loughran said. "Don't wait for your statements to come out, to see if there are any unusual transactions."
Target notified financial institutions and is working with law enforcement including the secret service. If you shopped at Target,onitor your accounts. If you think you've been compromised ask for new cards, and report any fraud to your financial institution or law enforcement.