By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/10/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A security breach at Target stores put millions of faithful customers at risk with leaked credit card and financial information late last year. It only got worse with the recent revelation from store officials that the breach was more than twice as big as previously feared - some 70 million Target customers had their credit card information hacked.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Described as a "massive data heist," the incident is one of the largest security breaches of its kind, ever. The victims part of these new figures include customers whose data was obtained by Target prior to Black Friday.
As part of its ongoing probe, Target found that some customer information, apart from the 40 million payment card accounts previously disclosed, was stolen during the data breach. Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman says that this isn't a new breach and that there may be some overlap between the two groups.
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The news is chilling to many consumers no matter what the circumstances. Part of the stolen information includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for up to 70 million individuals.
"I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry [that they have] to endure this," Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Target, said in a statement on its Web site.
"I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team."
Much of the data stolen was partial. However, in situations where Target has an email address, the company will attempt to contact the customers affected by the breach and provide them with tips to guard against consumer scams. Target assures it will not ask customers for any personal information when it contacts them.
Some of the previously disclosed stolen credit cards can be used to commit fraud in more places online, as well as being an unwelcome precursor to more widespread identity theft.
"They steal and combine what was stolen in previous breaches," Avivah Litan, a fraud analyst at technology research company Gartner says. "There are warehouses of information on people and dossiers. Now we've got John's credit card, his address, his phone number... they do put it together and sell entire profiles on people."
There have been precedents to the current identity theft disaster: In 2007, more than 45 million T.J. Maxx and Marshalls customers had their data stolen in what had been one of the largest U.S. corporate data breaches to date.
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