Following the data breach at Target Corp. over the holiday shopping season, US state prosecutors have announced a nationwide probe following Target’s admission that hackers stole personal information pertaining to 70 million customers, possibly more! Information stolen included not only credit and debit card details, but also email addresses, telephone numbers and mailing addresses.
States involved in the investigation into the security breach could amount to as many as thirty US states, including New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut. General Martha Coakley, a Massachusetts Attorney, said: “A breach of this magnitude is extremely disconcerting and we are participating in a multi-state investigation to discover the circumstances that led to this breach.”
As Target lowered their 4th quarter profit forecast, and with shares closing at just over 1% at $62.62, security experts explain that the hackers could use the stolen credit and debit card details to fabricate false magnetic strip credit cards, sell personal information for use in email ‘phishing’ campaigns, and even use the information to persuade victims to part with even more sensitive information!
Since the breach was disclosed, there has been a rise in the number of fraudulent card charges, with many card issuers stating that customers will now have a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude towards fraud. And a Reuters/Ipsos poll recently showed that 40% of Target shoppers during the data breach period had still not been notified about the breach.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said: “Disclosures about Target’s even broader breaches of customer information will rightly add alarm and anger. Now, more than ever, an FTC investigation is necessary – and should be publicly confirmed – so that consumers know their rights and interests are protected.”
By Allie Philpin