Target Customers – 40 Million Credit & Debit Cards at Risk

by Stevie Hall*

Paying with cash is something to consider this holiday season, especially if your favorite store is Target. It has been reported that Target experienced a security breach and nearly 40 million credit and debit cards -and the information associated with them- could be jeopardized. According to Professor William Kresse, a security expert at Saint Xavier University, “If it pans out the way it seems to be looking, this could be the biggest credit card breach in the history of credit card breaches.”

It is believed that this is a point of sale hack, meaning the information was taken from each card as it was swiped for payment. Once this information has been obtained, a thief can do a number of things. Counterfeit cards can be created using the information extracted from the track data, and placing it on any card with a magnetic stripe. If the hackers were able to obtain the pin number from a debit transaction, they may also be able to create counterfeit debit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs. There has been no report that the credit card breach affected customers of Target’s online store.

Target released the following statement to the public regarding the breach, “Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence,” said CEO Gregg Steinhafel in a statement. “We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.”

If you suspect any fraudulent activity on your credit or debit card, there are a few places to contact to ensure safety of your information.

  1. Examine your bank and credit card statements.
  2. Check your credit report.
  3. Contact your back or financial institution.
  4. Contact Target at (866) 852-8680.
  5. Contact the Federal Trade Commission.
  6. Contact Law enforcement to report identity theft. (UPD 936.294.1794)

Finally, to help ease the process and point you in the right direction, contact Student Legal & Mediation Services by phone at 936.294.1717 or by email at We will do the best we can to make this a smooth process for you. If you’re not sure that fraudulent activity is occurring, don’t hesitate to call our office to set up an appointment to learn how to check your credit and account activity, or contact the SHSU Student Money Management Center at 936.294.2600.

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