Target: Data Breach Caught Up to 70 Million Customers - 8 News NOW

Target: Data Breach Caught Up to 70 Million Customers

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NEW YORK -- Target says that personal information -- including phone numbers and email and mailing addresses -- was stolen from as many as 70 million customers in its pre-Christmas data breach. That was substantially more customers than Target had previously said were affected.

One of those impacted was Las Vegan Monique Zaferatos. She says her debit card information was hacked at a local Target while buying gifts.

The thieves stole about $3,000, spending it all in out-of-state stores and home-shopping networks.

"But they really liked QVC. I want to know what they were buying. What did I buy at QVC? Because they were big items, all over $350," Zaferatos said.

Zaferatos' bank put a hold on her account and eventually credited the money back but it was an inconvenience for her.

"When I went to go get gas, I couldn't because I didn't have the money in my account," Zaferatos said.

Zaferatos is upset with Target because she trusted the big box store's information technology department to stop this kind of theft.

However, it is not that easy.

Linda Montgomery of the Learning Center teaches cyber security to global experts for top dollar. She says Target is actually getting a bad rap here.

"They identified this breach within two weeks that is light-speed fast," Montgomery said.

Montgomery says more and more cyber attacks are happening about one every second around the world. It has come to the point where attacks are inevitable.

She says many of the attacks happen to big stores like Target and are hidden from the public, which makes everyone more vulnerable.

"The last similar known breach of this nature and this magnitude took 210 days to identify," Montgomery said. 

Target had announced in December that about 40 million credit and debit cards may have been affected by a data breach that happened between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 -- just as the holiday shopping season was getting into gear.

The retailer said Friday that the personal information stolen is not a new breach, but was discovered during its ongoing investigation.

"I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken, and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Target in a statement. "I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team."

Target also announced the closing of 8 stores in May due to their financial performance. Stores in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas are among those closing their doors.

If you see suspicious charges on your statements, report them to your credit card company and call Target at 866-852-8680.

For more advice from the FTC on protecting your identity, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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