Minneapolis, MN, United States (4E) – The credit and debit card information of some 40 million people who shopped at Target stores from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 have been stolen, the retail chain said Thursday.
Target said hackers obtained the names, numbers, expiration dates, and three-digit security codes of credit or debit cards of store customers and holders of Target Redcard during the height of the holiday shopping season. The thieves can use the information to make purchases online, the company warned.
Target said people can continue to use their credit and debit cards to shop at Target. Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and chief executive, said the company is addressing the issue so customers can shop with trust and confidence.
But the company called on customers to report suspicious transactions on their cards as the Secret Service and a hired forensic team investigate the breach and track down the hackers. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary confirmed the investigation on Wednesday.
The store’s computerized payment system is also being strengthened to prevent future hackings, according to Target.
Target, the nation’s second-largest general merchandise retailer after Wal-Mart Stores with 1,500 outlets, saw its stock fall in early trading on Thursday.