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Michael Kors Ava Large

Target's statements come after the nation's second largest retailer acknowledged Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend. history, exceeded only by a scam that began in 2005 involving retailer TJX Cos. That incident affected at least 45.7 million card users.

"This is close to the worst time to have it happen," said Jeremy Robinson Leon, a principal at Group Gordon, a corporate and crisis public relations firm. "If I am a Target customer, I think I would be much more likely to go to a competitor over the next few days, rather than risk the Michael Kors 2018 Bags

During an earnings call in November, the company said some 20 percent of store customers as of October have the Target branded cards. In fact, households that activate a Target branded card have increased their spending at the store by about 50 percent on average, the company said.

Other experts theorize that Target's network was hacked and infiltrated from the outside. 15. The company is teaming with a third party forensics firm to investigate and prevent future problems.

The Minneapolis based discounter said that while it's only heard of "very few" reports of fraud, it's reaching out to customers who made purchases by swiping their cards when the Michael Kors Ava Large scam occurred. The company also said it's continuing its investigation into the matter.

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Target's credit card breach poses a serious problem and threatens to scare away shoppers who worry about the safety of their personal data.

Target advised customers Thursday to check their statements carefully. Those who see suspicious charges should report them to their credit card companies and call Target at 866 852 8680. Cases of identity theft can also be reported to law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission.

The incident is particularly troublesome for Target because it has used its store branded credit and debit cards as a marketing tool to attract shoppers with a 5 percent discount.

On Friday, Target reiterated that the stolen data included customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the embedded code on the magnetic strip found on the backs of cards, Target said.

"The fact this breach can happen with all of their security in place is really alarming," Litan said.

potential to have my information be compromised."

´╗┐Fury and frustration over Target data breach

Data breaches tied to credit card fraud are on the rise, according to Javelin Strategy Research, a San Francisco based financial services firm.

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Given the millions of dollars that companies such as Target spend implementing credit card security measures each year, Avivah Litan, a security analyst with Gartner Research, said she believes the theft may have been an inside job.

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Al Pascual, a senior analyst of security risk and fraud at Javelin, noted that 28 percent of customers who are notified that their cards were breached typically suffer fraud in the same year.

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"I won't shop at Target again until the people behind this theft are caught or the reasons for the breach are identified and fixed," he said.

There was no indication the three or four digit security numbers visible on the back of the card were affected, Target said. It also said Friday there was no indication that the stolen data included a customer's birth date or social security number. The data breach did not affect online purchases, the company said.

Angry Target customers expressed their displeasure in comments on the company's Facebook page. Some even threatened to stop shopping at the store.

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Christopher Browning, of Chesterfield, Va., said he was the victim of credit card fraud earlier this week and believes it was tied to a purchase he made at Target with his Visa card on Black Friday. When he called Visa on Thursday, the card issuer could not confirm his suspicions. He said he hasn't been able to get through to Target's call center.

relations nightmare threaten to drive off holiday shoppers during the company's busiest time of year.

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said it didn't believe that PIN numbers to customers' debit cards have been compromised. So that means someone cannot visit an ATM with a fraudulent card and withdraw cash, it said.

"We take this crime seriously," Steinhafel said in the statement.

On Monday, Browning received a call from his bank's anti fraud unit saying there were two attempts to use his credit card in California one at a casino in Tracy for $8,000 and the other at a casino in Pacheco, for $3,000. Both occurred Sunday and both were denied. He canceled his credit card and plans to use cash.

Target hasn't disclosed exactly how the breach occurred but said it has fixed the problem.

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According to a report by the firm, nearly 16 million consumers were notified that their card information was compromised in 2012, while the number of victims of fraud increased more than threefold from 2010 to 2012. That resulted in $4.8 billion in fraud losses.

Target disclosed the theft a day after reports that the company was investigating a breach. The retailer's data security troubles and its ensuing public Michael Kors Handbags

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Target's CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized through a statement issued Friday. The retailer also said it's working hard to resolve the problem and is adding more workers to field calls and help solve website issues. And the discounter began offering 10 percent off for customers who shop in its stores Saturday and Sunday and free credit monitoring services to those who've been affected by the issue.

Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to Target's security breach said they had trouble contacting the discounter through its website and call centers.

"This is going to spawn credit card fraud," he said.

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