Target faces a growing number of lawsuits after consumer credit card information was stolen at the start of the holiday season, alleging that the retailer is responsible for the consequences of the data breach.
At multiple points since November 27, hackers broke into Target’s database and stole credit card data collected from customers who were making purchases. However, the retailer allegedly waited until mid-December to report the incidents to the public.
While some experts indicate that the data stolen wasn’t enough for identity thefts to occur, there was enough data for credit card fraud.
Customers seeking to establish Target class action lawsuits have filed complaints in federal courts in Minnesota, California and New York, claiming that the retailer failed to protect their private information. Some of the lawsuits were filed by customers who seek damages over the potential consequences of the data breach, while others claim that they have been actual victims of credit card fraud from the Target security breach.
Following the data breach, further confusion was caused by fake communications sent by hackers claiming to be Target. As a result, Target will launch a dedicated website to provide information about the breach. The company has said it will ensure that customers do not have to pay for any fraudulent charges that may occur on their credit card accounts and will provide some customers with a year of free credit reporting. It also offered a 10% discount to customers last weekend.
On December 20, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued a statement regarding the Target security breach.
“We understand that a situation like this creates stress and anxiety about the safety of your payment card data at Target,” he said in the statement. “Our brand has been built on a 50-year foundation of trust with our guests, and we want to assure you that the cause of this issue has been addressed and you can shop with confidence at Target.”
Several state attorneys general are also questioning the company’s ability to protect customers, and some states have launched probes into the incident. The company hosted a conference call between its General Counsel, Tim Baer, and several state attorneys general on Monday.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, is asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into the breach to see if Target failed to have the proper security in place. Target says the security breach has been fixed and it is working with the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the incident.