The Norman Transcript

Business

December 29, 2013

The great Target hack of 2013: Should you care?

NORMAN — It started this week while I was working on one of my customer’s computers, when she asked, “What do you think about those millions of credit cards being hacked at Target?”

Not having watched the previous evening’s news broadcasts, I had missed the story of one of the biggest credit card thefts of all times. Apparently, “hackers” had stolen the account information for up to 40 million credit cards used at Target stores between Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, and Dec. 15.

A few minutes after being filled in by my customer, I got a text message from my daughter: “Did you hear about millions of credit cards getting hacked at Target? Might want to keep an eye on your account.”

She was right, darn it. Her message jogged my memory: I had used my credit card at Target on Nov. 27, the first day of the massive hack attack. I knew right then the story needed my full attention. Pretty soon, other people were asking the same question: “Should I be concerned?”

The short answer is yes, if you shopped at a Target store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 and paid with your credit card, you should be concerned. Word is the big hack does not extend to online Internet-based purchases from Target, only folks who actually visited a Target store and used a credit card are potential victims.

I use the phrase “potential victims” because nobody knows how many of the 40 million stolen credit card accounts will actually be used by the bad guys to steal money. Still, 40 million accounts stolen over a period of 19 days means over two million accounts stolen every day.

Target is not forthcoming with statistics about how many daily credit card-using shoppers they have, but common sense dictates that if you used a credit card at a Target store during those 19 days, the likelihood that your account was stolen is high.

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