SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - People all over the country are trying to figure out if their family is in financial danger after hackers managed to get credit and debit information for people who shop at Target. Forty million accounts could be impacted.
Target says shoppers who used a credit card or debit card in a Target store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have been impacted.
Target confirmed Thursday that there was unauthorized access to Target payment data, compromising personal financial information including customers names, credit or debit card number, card expiration dates and their three digit security code.
The data breach did not affect shoppers who bought products online, rather, customers who swiped in the stores using a Target brand card or a major card brand like Visa or MasterCard.
In many cases, the hackers were using the information to make counterfeit cards.
The Fortune 500 company says it began investigating the incident as soon as it learned about what happened, and the issue has been identified and resolved.
The breach is now being investigated by a third party forensics firm and the Secret Service.
If you think you were a victim of Target's unauthorized access of payment information, you first need to check your statement for any suspicious activity and check it regularly.
Second, call the card company if it was a Target or Red Card. If it was a major card company like Visa or MasterCard, you need to notify that company that you have shopped at Target.
Third, cancel the card or replace the pin. Officials say who ever was responsible for the breach has been using counterfeit cards with your information.
Lastly, sign up for some sort of fraud monitoring device to prevent it from happening again.
Many Target shoppers stopped by to make sure it was safe to shop there again.
"Well it concerned me," said Sandy Wiggins. "It's like most people, they don't carry a lot of cash and you're always using the card and it does concern you that you may be compromised."
"Your debit card is the key to your bank account," said Det. Ray Woodberry with the Financial Crimes division of SCMPD. "If someone gets hold of your debit card, they've got your whole checking account and whatever balance you have in it and if you have other accounts attached to it like most people do. It's like a funnel. They could funnel that money all the way out if you're not careful."
In a statement to the media Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said, "Target's first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause."