Updated: 12/19/2013 12:26 PM
Created: 12/18/2013 10:41 PM WDIO.com
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Target says it's fixed the problem that allowed credit and debit card information on as many as 40 million accounts to be stolen. It says credit card holders can continue to shop at its stores.
But the chain also says customers should check their statements carefully for unauthorized charges.
Customers who see suspicious activity in their accounts are being told to call Target at 866-852-8680.
The accounts at risk are those of customers who swiped their cards at stores in the U.S. between November 27th and December 15th. The breach didn't affect online purchases or Canadian stores. The stolen information included Target store brand cards and major card brands such as Visa and MasterCard.
Target isn't saying exactly how the data breach occurred. It says it's working with a third-party forensics firm to investigate it, and to prevent future breaches.
Target's stocked dipped about two percent in this morning's trading.
Here are some answers to the most common questions about the theft:
Q: I shopped at Target during that time. What should you do?
A: Check your credit card statements carefully. If you see suspicious charges, report the activity to your credit card companies and call Target at 866-852-8680. You can report cases of identity theft to law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission.
You can get more information about identity theft on the FTC's website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling the FTC, at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338).
Q: How did the breach occur?
A: Target isn't saying how it happened. Industry experts note that companies such as Target spend millions of dollars each year on credit card security, making a theft of this magnitude particularly alarming.
Avivah Litan, a security analyst with Gartner Research, says given all the security, she believes the breach may have been an inside job.
Litan says Target's breach suggests that current security standards aren't working.
"It's really a wake-up call to the banking industry, but they never seem to wake up," she said.
James Lyne, global head of security research for the computer security firm Sophos, says something clearly went wrong with Target's security measures.
"Forty million cards stolen really shows a substantial security failure," he says. "This shouldn't have happened."
Q: Why is the Secret Service investigating?
A: While it's most famous for protecting the president, the Secret Service also is responsible for protecting the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems. As a result, it has broad jurisdiction over a wide variety of financial crimes. It isn't uncommon for the agency to investigate major thefts involving credit card information.
Online: Target response
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Charge Against Superior Woman in Controversial Arrest Video Dismissed
A judge has dismissed a charge against a woman seen in a video of a controversial Superior arrest. At a hearing Friday, Judge Kelly Thimm approved a motion to dismiss a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge against Natasha Lancour.
Three Attempted Murder Charges Filed Against Woman in Douglas Co. Shootout
Twenty two-year old Jessica Gehl of Lake Nebagamon was charged with three counts of attempted first degree intentional murder Friday after she allegedly pulled a gun on her mother and then opened fire on authorities Wednesday. Gehl was also charged with first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
Reinert 'Strongly Considering' Running for Duluth Mayor
When Duluth Mayor Don Ness announced earlier this month that he would not seek re-election, many people were surprised. On Friday, Sen. Roger Reinert said he is strongly considering entering the race.
Dayton, Johnson Show Fire in Final Governor Debate
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican nominee Jeff Johnson ended their series of debates Friday much like they began, with the incumbent hailing big-picture successes and his rival saying too many things went awry over the past four years.
KSTP/SurveyUSA: Health Care, Taxes Most Important to Voters
When it comes to making choices for political candidates on Election Day, Minnesota voters say health care and taxes are the issues most important to them.