• Thu, Dec 19 - 5:30 pm ET

Just In Time For Christmas, Santa Steals Your Credit Card Information Via Target

Hackers Grab 40 Million Accounts From Target StoresOkay, so it’s not Santa. Santa didn’t do anything. Hackers that hit the Target website did though, so if you’ve shopped there during the holiday season you should keep a close eye on your credit card statements.

Target just confirmed a security breach and reports that 40 million credit and debit cards may have been compromised. From Time:

If you shopped at a U.S. Target store between November 27 and December 15, you should assume you’re at risk and keep a close watch on your account statements. It’s not clear whether every Target store was affected, but at least one card issuer says it’s seeing signs of fraud all over the United States,according to Krebs on Security. You’re not in any danger if you shopped at Target’s website, or one of the company’s Canada stores.


Great. Of course I’ve shopped at a Target store, are you kidding me? I doubt I know even a single person who hasn’t. Scratch that. My brother who’s been serving in Afghanistan probably hasn’t. But that’s it. Every single other person I know has. I’m sure of it. This is what I get for actually leaving the house and doing some of my shopping in person instead of on Amazon.com.

Target says the  hackers “gained access to customer names, credit card or debit card numbers, card expiration dates and CVV security codes.” That’s it. No big whoop. Just every piece of information you need to make a purchase. As if the holiday season hasn’t already strapped us all enough – now we have to worry about someone dipping into the shallow pool of finances left.

So how can you protect yourself if you’ve shopped there? You can’t. Too late. The only guaranteed way to protect yourself is by canceling your card and getting a new one. If that seems like too much of a hassle, Target suggests you keep a close eye on your statements and report anything fraudulent as soon as possible.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Alanna Jorgensen

    I was on the phone with my bank as soon as I heard. They claim I should be okay but I think i’ll change my card number anyway.

  • Kay_Sue

    Well, that settles it. I am never leaving the house for shopping again. These hackers may think that they have succeeded in (potentially) stealing 40 million people’s credit card information, but in reality all they have done is solidify my commitment to shopping in my PJs.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I am so with you with shopping online only. We have actually had a lot of online cc fraud because my husband and I also use our cc for our ecommerce business, but it’s always been caught immediately by MC. Fraud won’t stop me from lazy online shopping!!

    • Kay_Sue

      Last year, we had a transaction go through that wiped out my husband’s account–but our bank was awesome. They straightened the whole mess out and made it immediately available. We identified that it was a breach by one of the websites we shop on regularly.

      This year, we shopped more in store to try to avoid having it happen again…and now, we are potentially one of these 40 million.

      So eff it. Pajamas for the win. If I am going to be defrauded either way, I choose comfort.

    • SusannahJoy

      And wine. You can’t shop in Target with wine.

    • brebay

      I bought my son some presents on Amazon. Last year I got him the kindle. Turns out that, even though you can password protect your kids from being able to buy with your account, you CANNOT remove the “shop” function from the kindle, when they click on it to look for apps, they see all your recent orders, so, yeah, there were most of his presents right on his screen. Pretty pissed. After being connected to three non-native English speakers, none of who understood what I was asking, but screamed “He cannot purchase!” and hung up on me. Finally one lady really went out of her way to help, and it turns out there is just no way. You have to open 2 separate accounts, which is ridiculous and too late now. There ought to be a way to mask your orders. Guess I’m done buying gifts on Amazon, back to the mall. Definitely thinking about going all-cash though! At least this Target thing is so broad that banks are aware of it and you won’t have to pay the charges. I was there with 2 different cards in that time frame, no charges yet!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido


  • ktbay

    This is why my husband and I only use credit cards when we do any shopping. We’ve have our cards compromised a few times, and they always call and clear everything up, usually before we can even check our statements.

  • Ptownsteveschick

    I’m safe! But only because I live 90 miles from a target and I never have any money anyways.

  • AmazingAsh

    The message I got from my bank said only people who had Target cards linked to their accounts were compromised. I find it hard to believe 40 million people have Red cards, so I’ll watch my account just to be safe.

    • Afton

      It is definitely not just people with Red cards. My husband and I just got a call from our bank this afternoon letting us know our cards have been compromised because of this and we don’t have any store credit or debit cards. We took out some cash for the weekend and should be getting new cards from our bank early next week.

    • MoD

      Yeah, that’s not the case. It’s any credit or debit card used at Target. Actually, those with the Red debit cards (not Red credit cards) are a tiny bit better off, if anything. Those can only be used at Target, so if the numbers are used for fraudulent activity the fraudsters are limited to using them at Target.com. Otherwise they’d have to load your card number to a phony card and also know your pin number in order to use it at a Target store. Other credit or debit cards, anything with a VISA, Mastercard, or Amex logo…those can be used anywhere and are more at risk. Most fraudsters will use them online. I think the people hardest hit will be those who have their regular VISA or Mastercard debit card numbers stolen. Fraudsters can use those for purchases anywhere online and it’s taking your money from your checking account and not just pulling from a credit line. Personally if I had used a regular debit card at Target recently I would go about getting it replaced.

      I have a Target Red debit card and I use it frequently. Hopefully Target can get their act together so I can order a new card soon. I’m thinking it will be awhile before I’ll even bother trying to call to order it, I’ve heard their customer service is just bombarded.

      Overall this is a major breach that will probably have a long-lasting impact on people’s sense of security while shopping. Some people may say they’ll just start using cash, but that’s not always the best option, either. If you lose cash, it’s gone forever. If your cash is stolen, there’s not usually a way to get it replaced (unless you have some kickass homeowner’s or renter’s insurance). There’s not really great options out there anymore. I would say the best option is honestly using credit cards if you’re concerned about security. If your credit card number is stolen you’re usually 100% protected from fraud and any charges that are pending just go against your credit line. I always use a credit card or a secondary checking account debit card when shopping online.

  • LiteBrite

    Of course I’ve shopped at Target (a friend of mine and I call it “the hundred dollar store” because it seems like you can’t leave without spending at least a hundred dollars) so I guess I’ll be keeping watch on both my credit and my debit card.

  • Janok Place

    40,000,000…. Man, even if they just skim a couple cents off everyone’s account they’ve made off like bandits. Scary. Woo, Canada!

  • Jallun-Keatres

    Aww yeahhh my bank just emailed me and it’s replacing my card automatically.

    So I never shop at Target. But I had a gift card so I got myself a breast pump and bottles for Mini Keatres. During this time. F me.