DENVER (CBS4) – Target announced today the data breach that occurred at its stores during the holiday shopping season is more widespread than initially thought.
Last month, the retailed said 40 million customers who made purchases at Target stores across the U.S. between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 had fallen victim to identity thieves. On Friday, the company said further investigation revealed as many as 70 million customers may have been affected. According to Target, the investigation revealed that further information was stolen, including email addresses, phone numbers, names and mailing addresses for up to 70 million people.
“I feel like they should have been more proactive about keeping everyone’s information safe,” said local victim Sara Mayer.
In a statement on the company’s website, Target chairman, president, and chief executive officer Gregg Steinhafel released a statement that read, in part, “I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are sorry they are having to endure this.”
Megan Herrera, a spokewoman for the Better Businesses Bureau serving Denver and Boulder, says anyone can be susceptible to identity theft, and as technology improves, it becomes harder to prevent.
“It’s definitely been one of the biggest that we’ve seen here at the BBB and there are a lot of concerns because of it,” Herrera said.
There are three main ways the stolen information can be used, Herrera said. Hackers can use the email addresses and phone numbers gathered to phish for more information. They can also use that data, she says, to cross reference other information and perpetuate further theft.
“This information can help identity thieves build a more complete personal profile on someone,” Herrera said.
The Better Business Bureau suggests keeping a close eye on all of your credit card accounts. Herrera says monitor account activity daily, and pull your credit report to check for suspicious charges and fraud. Another tip the BBB suggests is to be on guard against phishing, avoid giving your personal information to an unverified source and don’t click on links from unfamiliar email sources.
By Lauren DiSpirito for CBSDenver.com