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More Stores Affected in Target Data Breach; Lawsuits Investigated

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New York, NYAt least five stores have been hit by the same group believed to be responsible for the Target data breach that reportedly exposed the personal information of approximately 100 million consumers. According to reports, the Target information breach occurred between November 27 and December 15, 2013. During that period, encrypted PIN data and the magnetic stripes on debit and credit cards were reportedly exposed through the debit and credit terminals.

Now, reports indicate that Neiman Marcus and three other retail chains have also been hit by hackers who stole the personal information of shoppers. So far no arrests have been made, but according to CBS News (1/13/14), officials believe the thieves are based in Europe. The same report notes that customers whose information was stolen have already had their cards illegally used, including for ordering pizza in India and shopping on the Internet.

Meanwhile, other customers had information such as their name, address and telephone number stolen, indicating a breach in Target’s infrastructure.

Now, Target and Neiman Marcus Group Ltd could face lawsuits from consumers, banks and regulators over the breaches. According to Bloomberg Businessweek (1/13/14), various states including Connecticut and Illinois are investigating possible charges against both Target and Neiman Marcus. The report notes that approximately 20 lawsuits have been filed by customers against Target, and Putnam Bank filed a lawsuit of its own, alleging the breach cost the bank money in issuing customer alerts and new cards. The bank also claimed it lost money reimbursing clients for their losses.

The bank’s lawsuit, Putnam Bank v. Target Corp., case number 14-cv-00121, US District Court, District of Minnesota, reportedly alleges that Target did not tell customers about the security breach for four weeks.

USA Today (12/22/13) reports that consumer lawsuits were filed in California and Oregon. Those lawsuits reportedly seek more than $5 million in damages.

Target has announced it will offer customers one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Customers can access the program by visiting the Target website and entering their e-mail addresses to receive an activation code, according to The Washington Post (1/13/14). The program is open to anyone who has shopped at Target, not just those who believe they were affected by the data breach.

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