Target Reassures Customers with Free Credit Monitoring, Offers Discount

Updated: 12/20/2013 9:56 PM By: Cassie Hart

Target is offering a store discount and free credit monitoring after what's being called the second-largest credit card breach in U.S. history.

Target is continuing to reach out to those impacted by the security breach.

In a news release the company said they are “reaching guests across a number of channels including traditional and social media. Also, we have begun notifying, via email, those guests whose emails we have.” Target expects a majority of those emails to be sent by the end of the weekend.

Target also noted receiving an email or a letter from their financial institution is “absolutely not an indication that there has been, or will be, fraud on their card.”

Some people who may be victims say they're having trouble contacting the company through its website and call centers. Target is apologizing and says it's adding more workers to handle calls and help solve website issues. For example, in the last 24 hours Target said they have quadrupled the capacity of their online REDcard account management site.

So far, Target said, “We are hearing very few reports of actual fraud, but are closely monitoring the situation. We want to reassure guests that they will not be held financially responsible for any credit card or debit card fraud. “

Officials say there is no indication that there has been any impact to PINs; or that the data that was inappropriately accessed included a guest’s date of birth or social security number.

Data that may have been impacted includes information on the magnetic strip and does not include the three or four-digit code visible on the card that guests use that would allow someone to make an online purchase, Target said.

Target has already alerted all credit card companies and provided the affected card numbers of guest who may have been impacted, according to a statement from Target.

Target said, “The networks, in turn, are providing the affected card numbers to the financial institutions of our guests via a “batch” or “CAMS alert.” This alert process allows card providers to take steps to enact additional fraud monitoring.  For our REDcard holders, in addition to the robust fraud monitoring system we already had in place, we have added additional layers of security and fraud monitoring to their cards.”

Data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over Thanksgiving weekend, the company acknowledged Thursday.

Meanwhile, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is offering a 10 percent discount to guests who shop in the Store Dec. 21 and 22.

CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued the following statement:

“Yesterday we shared that there was unauthorized access to payment card data at our U.S. stores. The issue has been identified and eliminated. We recognize this has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. Our guests’ trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right.

We want our guests to understand that just because they shopped at Target during the impacted time frame, it doesn’t mean they are victims of fraud. In fact, in other similar situations, there are typically low levels of actual fraud. Most importantly, we want to reassure guests that they will not be held financially responsible for any credit and debit card fraud. And to provide guests with extra assurance, we will be offering free credit monitoring services. We will be in touch with those impacted by this issue soon on how and where to access the service.

We understand it’s been difficult for some guests to reach us via our website and call center. We apologize and want you to understand that we are experiencing unprecedented call volume. Our Target teams are working continuously to build capacity and meet our guests’ needs.

We take this crime seriously. It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests. We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10% discount – the same amount our team members receive – to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22. Again, we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores.”