Target has notified the North Carolina Attorney General’s office that about 1.2 million credit and debit cards used in Target’s North Carolina stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 were exposed to the security breach that affected 40 million of its customers.
In its filing with the AG’s office, the retailer said it estimated that about 1,212,000 of the accounts exposed during the breach had transactions in the state. The company was unable to determine how many state residents were affected because its terminals do not capture mailing addresses.
The retailer has said that card numbers, expiration dates and the security codes embedded on the magnetic strips on the back of the cards were stolen during a three-week period. Neither the three-digit CVV codes on the back of the cards nor personal identification numbers were revealed, according to the retailer.
On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department began investigating the breach.
Target has been contacting customers whose Target credit and debit cards were affected. According to a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Attorney General’s office, typically when a merchant has a breach it notifies the major credit card companies, which then notify the banks that issued the affected cards. The banks then notify the consumers that their card was potentially involved in a breach.
The AG’s office is recommending that affected shoppers request new cards, change any PINs or passwords associated with the account, monitor credit and debit card accounts and immediately report suspicious charges to bank or credit card companies.
Shoppers should also check credit reports. Everyone is allowed one free credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus. Breach victims can also request a fraud alert from one of the credit bureaus, and should consider a security freeze for maximum protection. The state’s Identity Theft Protection Act allows residents to request a security freeze online at any one of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax or TransUnion.
Staff writer Mary Cornatzer