Target: customers will not be held responsible for any fraud - abc27 WHTM

Target: customers will not be held responsible for any fraud

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Target says customers will not be held financially responsible for any credit and debit card fraud as the result of a data breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend.

CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement Friday that the company will also offer free credit monitoring services.

Steinhafel said Target will be in touch with those impacted by the security issue soon on how and where to access the service.

"We recognize this has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season," Steinhafel said in the statement. "Our guests' trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right."

The nation's second-largest discounter acknowledged Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen.

Target said anyone who made purchases by swiping cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed.

The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

The stolen information included Target store brand cards and major card brands such as Visa and MasterCard.

The data breach did not affect online purchases, the company said.

"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," Steinhafel said. "In fact, in other similar situations, there are typically low levels of actual fraud."

Shoppers are urged to check their credit card statements carefully. Suspicious charges should be reported to the credit card company and to Target by calling 866-852-8680.

Many displeased customers have threatened to stop shopping at the store. Many complained they could not get through to the call center and could not get on Target's branded credit card website.

Steinhafel apologized for the issues.

"We apologize and want you to understand that we are experiencing unprecedented call volume," he said. "Our Target teams are working continuously to build capacity and meet our guests' needs."

Steinhafel said Target stores are extending a 10 percent discount to customers who shop in U.S. stores on Saturday and Sunday.

"We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores," he said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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