Target customers file lawsuits after data security breach

MINNEAPOLIS (TIP): Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount chain, faces almost two dozen lawsuits filed by customers after a computer security breach exposed data on 40 million debit and credit cards. Customers have filed complaints seeking class action status for their suits in state and federal courts from the company’s home state of Minnesota to California and New York. Most accuse Target of failing to protect their private information.

The information obtained during the breach “is a treasure trove for identity theft criminals who could use it to gain access to credit card and other private and valuable information about customers,” one of the plaintiffs, Alfonso E. Alonso III of San Francisco, said in a complaint. Target said Thursday, December 19 that security for the cards may have been breached between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 during purchases in stores. While the chain said it had identified and resolved the issue, the compromise occurred during the most important period of the year for retailers, with shoppers already showing reluctance to spend. In its latest statement, Target said December 24, it’s unveiling a special website for to communicate with customers.

The retailer said “limited incidents” of fake communications claiming to be from the company prompted it to set up the dedicated channel for posting information about the breach. Since disclosing the breakdown the Minneapolis-based company has agreed to give some shoppers free credit reporting, assured them they wouldn’t be responsible for fraudulent charges and offered a 10 percent discount on purchases last weekend to regain their trust. Massachusetts is among states probing the security breakdown. The company also said it is “actively partnering” with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Secret Service on a continuing forensic and criminal probe. Neither entity is investigating Target, according to the statement.

Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target, said the company “typically doesn’t comment on pending litigation.” Meanwhile, one of the victims of Target security breach is targeted again, in Maryland. George Nader, who is a deputy police chief in a county let slip the card, issued him after the breach on Friday, December 20. Nader “unknowingly dropped his newly acquired credit card” at a restaurant on Route 1.Within an hour, the police said, two people, termed “Scrooges,” had scooped up the plastic and started shopping. It was not immediately clear whether Nader has yet received a third card.

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