Stolen Target customer data flooding black market

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An exterior photograph of a Target store in Martinsburg, Virginia.

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NEW YORK — Credit-card data stolen during a massive data breach at Target last month is hitting the black market, according to multiple sources.

The New York Times reported that Easy Solutions, a company that tracks fraud, noticed a ten to twentyfold increase in stolen cards on black market web sites.

The stolen customer information is from a security breach involving its in-store point-of-sale systems. The breach took place between Black Friday and December 15th.

The massive hack left up to 40 million credit and debit cards compromised. Criminals on hundreds of illicit card-selling markets have likely had access to consumer information for weeks to date.

Security experts said criminals sell stolen credit cards in bulk and then burn the information onto counterfeit cards or use them to purchase gift cards that siphon off the victim’s account.

Target has announced that customers will not be held responsible for any credit or debit fraud.

On Friday, the retailer announced a 10 percent discount for all shoppers at its stores for the coming weekend.

The retailer said Friday that it is “hearing very few reports of actual fraud” involving the credit breach.

Attorney General Roy Cooper issued a statement on Friday with tips for people who may be at risk. Cooper said:

  • Check your credit and debit card accounts and report suspicious charges to your bank or credit card company immediately. Also, request a new card with a different number and change any PINs or passwords for the affected account.
  • Check your credit reports. Once criminals have your personal information, they may use it to open new accounts in your name. Everyone is allowed a free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus. Breach victims can also request a fraud alert from one of credit bureaus, and should consider a security freeze for maximum protection.
  • Check out our detailed list of tips for what to do after a security breach.

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