Local News

Target credit card breach has more NC shoppers opting for cash

Posted January 10, 2014 6:10 p.m. EST
Updated January 10, 2014 6:34 p.m. EST

— Target’s disclosure Friday that the personal information from millions more customers were compromised than previously thought had some North Carolinians thinking twice about swiping their cards at the popular retailer’s stores.

“I’m just going to use cash,” said Ashley Campbell, who was shopping Friday morning at the Target on Skibo Road in Fayetteville. “If I use cash, it really doesn’t matter.”

The nation's second-largest discounter said hackers stole personal information — including names, phone numbers as well as email and mailing addresses — from as many as 70 million customers as part of a data breach it discovered last month. That’s an increase from the 42 million initially reported, including 1.2 million in North Carolina.

"Leaks like that happen all the time. Hackers are always trying to get credit card numbers and all that, so I'm not surprised at all," said Tim Dippel, a computer security technician who was also shopping at the Skibo Road store.

Dippel said he’s surprised the revised number of hacked accounts isn’t larger.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper called the breach “unacceptable” and reminded residents to safeguard their financial information.

“When your information is compromised, it puts you at greater risk of identity theft and other types of fraud,” Cooper said in a statement. “This is a wake-up call to take action to protect yourself now.”

He said consumers should:

• Check credit and debit card accounts and report suspicious charges to their 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 credit reports. Once criminals have someone’s personal information, they may use it to open new accounts in his or her 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.

• Be on guard for calls, emails, texts or social media posts seeking personal information or money. Scammers may pretend to be with a bank, utility, legitimate companies or government agencies, and if they already have some personal information they can seem more convincing. Do not fall for it.