Target says data breach bigger than first thought, affecting 70 million
EDISON - Retail giant Target says the number of customers affected by a data breach just before Christmas is much larger than previously thought.
A spokesperson says hackers gained access to data for as many as 70 million people, and the company says it wasn't just credit card numbers that were stolen.
Target says customer emails, home addresses and even phone numbers were compromised.
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Credit experts like Paul Oster say that is plenty of information for a customer to become the victim of identity theft. "Now is the time to change all your pins, all your passwords," he says. "Once they have your info and they back through accounts, now they can take everything."
Oster says if you haven't been victimized it's still a good idea to look for signs of fraud coming your way in the form of spam or other requests for personal information via your personal email account.
Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement, "I know it's frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this."
Steinhafel is offering customers one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
Customers say they are already taking protections. "I'm very cautious about coming here," says Theresa Sauta. "I go somewhere else or come here with cash."
"We lock our doors. We lock our cars," says Oster. "Unfortunately we take very little care in locking our identity."
Target admits to a loss in revenue since announcing the breach in December, but says it has closed the access point the hackers used so this won't happen again.