With the final shopping weekend of the holiday season underway, Target is offering a 10 percent discount off in-store purchases made in the U.S. The offer comes in the wake of an embarrassing and far-reaching security breach in which credit and debit card information from 40 million Target customers was compromised.
After Target confirmed that an enormous amount of data, including names of customers, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit CVV security code, millions of shoppers wondered if the security breach affected them. Possible victims of identity theft were anyone who shopped at Target locations from Black Friday through Dec. 15.
“We take this crime seriously,” Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement posted yesterday. “It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests. We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10% discount – the same amount our team members receive – to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22.”
Steinhafel assured customers that the problem has been “eliminated.” The retailer has provided few details of how exactly hackers, who investigators now believe were overseas but had help from someone on the inside, were able to break into Target’s information databases. According to NBC News, hackers were able to get whatever information was on the magnetic strips of shoppers’ credit and debit cards, but were not able to get PIN numbers.
“Again, we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season,” Steinhafel said. “We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores.”
News of the Target data breach first broke Wednesday. Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter who now runs a website called KrebsonSecurity.com, was the first to report on the massive compromise of sensitive financial data.
The cards are already popping up in illegal online “card shops,” which are advertised in cybercrime forums as places people can go to purchase stolen account information. According to Boston Globe, the cards are often sold online in bulk – to account for any cancellations – for as much as $100 a card.