Class action lawsuit in massive data breach advances - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Class action lawsuit filed in massive data breach case

Savannah attorney Abda Quillian Savannah attorney Abda Quillian
Mark Tate of Tate Law Group Mark Tate of Tate Law Group

It was one of the most massive data breach's in recent memory - and now a class action lawsuit has just been filed against Target Corp. on behalf of some Savannah residents who are victims of it.

Some people are still working through the financial pains the mess caused. The impact of the compromised data in Georgia is farther reaching than anyone expected.

The Georgia class action suit was filed in Minnesota, but it originated in Savannah. It started with 10 local victims, but a sworn affidavit from a Target analyst shows that in Georgia alone, close to 1.3 million people may have been victims of the Target hacker.

"It's totally crazy - totally crazy," said Abda Quillian, who is one of 1.3 million Georgians affected by the massive data breach in December. "In less than 36 hours, $5,600 went in out - in out, in out - out on my business debit."

The Savannah attorney is now the victim and lead voice in the class action lawsuit for Georgia after a hacker tapped into Target's security system and stole credit card information from more than 100 million customers nationwide.

"It's rare to be the lawyer, the client and the victim here. But holy Bejeezus, to realize in 36 hours someone can wreak this much havoc in that short of time. I would venture to say they are some folks who aren't in a position to go get a lawyer and say oh, this was $200," Quillian said.

Quillian didn't even realize her debit card was compromised until mid-January.

She recalled her card getting charged incremental amounts, which may not have been noticed.

"So they ran $17 then ran over $25 then over $100. They hit $299 and ran that six times. And from there went as much as $750. [It was] traceable to a Best Buy store up north. She said that happened twice and there was more than $600 charged to FedEx.

"[It] beats me. Some of them were corporations in Salt Lake City and one was a corporation my bank thought was a Croatian company.

 "She actually had money taken from her account because of the security breach that happened while target was supposed to be watching the information they had," said attorney Mark Tate.

Tate Law Group started Georgia's class action suit against Target with 10 people signed on so far. The discovery phase has already produced the interesting information including the number of victims in Georgia. Quillian has more questions.

"How long did they sit on this and not tell people? In all honestly, it took me a while to go. I went to Target like twice - in the muck - before Christmas and shortly after Christmas. Obviously, they were taking these things and not running them all at one time," Quillian said.

 "One of the things we are going to be really interested in getting a hold of are security audits done. But we believe we will be able to show 45 days they knew something was going on before they were able to get in and deal with what we believe would be properly that will be the fight, of course," Tate said.

He said that one number that has not been easy to find is the overall total financial loss

They know there are 1.3 million affected in Georgia. "If you extrapolate that wherever Targets are pretty much nationwide, you are looking at maybe 50 million people who lost anywhere from as low as $50 bucks to as much as $5,000 or $6,000 thousand," Quillian said.

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