Experts: Target customers shouldn't panic over breach



Posted on December 19, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 7:55 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Consumer experts said local Target customers did not need to panic after the retail giant announced this week that hackers had breached the company's credit card system.

READ: Target: 40M card accounts may be breached

Staff with the Better Business Bureau point out there are steps people can take to avoid an unwanted charge even after they learn about fraud.

"If you're using an actual credit card, you really shouldn't panic because you can reverse those charges before there's even a financial loss on you," said  Chelsea Maguire with BBB.

Experts said people should check bank and card statements regularly, and to pay attention even to small payments.

"Whether they're tiny charges or big charges, I've even seen ATM withdrawals for $1.89,” said Maguire, “so just make sure that all of them are ones you're responsible for."

WATCH: What to do if you're a victim of the Target data breach

On Thursday, customers outside the Spokane Valley Target did not change their shopping habits even after hearing about a breach in security to millions of credit and debit accounts. 

Local shopper Lewis McCullough said he was not surprised by the case.

"I think you have to be cautious,” McCullough said.  “You know the URM stores just went through that problem."

WATCH: Cyberattacks blocked at local URM stores
Experts said while the Target fraud is significantly larger than the one that hit URM stores, the cases are similar and highlight a growing trend consumers have to prepare for.

"I think any business is really at risk for this type of thing because the information is so valuable to bad people," Maguire said.

Target said anyone who made purchases by swiping cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.  About 40 million Target customers who used credit and debit cards could be affected.  The investigation affects all 1,800 Target stores nationwide.

Thursday, Target said in a statement they were taking the matter very seriously and were working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.