Target Data Stolen: Identity Theft Breach Even Worse than First Thought
Mega retailer Target can't shake its 2013 holiday shopping season woes. Target first reported that its customers credit and debit card data had been hacked in November. The hacking occurred between Nov. 27 to Dec. 15. The widespread breach was initially thought to have affected 40 million customers, but shockingly that number has surged to 70 million. To put that number in perspective let this factoid sink in: If every single American shopped at Target, nearly 1 in 4 would have been subjected to this breach.
"I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this," said Steinhafel.
Target, of course, didn't ask to be hacked. But many feel that the Minneapolis, MN based firm didn't adequately address the serious nature of the data breach. Instead Target's brass thought that by giving every Target customer, not just those affected, a paltry 10 percent discount towards their next purchase hoping this issue would forgotten about. To add insult to injury, the discount lasted only 2 days and took place on a busy weekend.
The most sensible thing Target has done throughout this ordeal was to extend an identity theft and credit card monitoring service to those affected. Both of these programs will cover any issues that may arise for an entire year. In other words, Target stresses that any fraudulent charges will be dealt with and the customer will not be held liable.
Target doesn't like that it's reputation has been sullied, but its initial response to the data breach back in December seemed tepid and lethargic. Fourth quarter sales data reflects a decline from a year ago despite a hot start heading into Black Friday this year. But it's yet to be seen if Target will face any long term backlash (i.e. falling stock prices and middling sales), or if this dip in sales is temporary. Either way, trying to win back customer loyalty is going to be a tall order for the nation's number two retailer. After all, customers expected more.
Will you be shopping at Target anymore? Also, do you prefer to pay for your purchases using paper or plastic? Let us know in the comments section below.
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