Target: Breach affected millions more customers
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2013, file photo, a passer-by walks near an entrance to a Target retail store in Watertown, Mass. 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. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Target’s pre-Christmas security breach was significantly more extensive and affected millions more shoppers than the company reported last month.
The country’s second largest discounter said yesterday that hackers stole personal information – including names, phone numbers as well as email and mailing addresses – from as many as 70 million customers as part of a data breach it discovered in December.
Target Corp. disclosed last month 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.
According to new information gleaned from its investigation with the Secret Service and the Department of Justice, Target said yesterday that criminals also took non-credit card related data for some 70 million shoppers who could have made purchases at Target stores outside the late November to mid-December timeframe. Some overlap exists between the two data sets, the company said.
“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, Target’s chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.
While Target investors have been largely unmoved, the incident has shaken shoppers.
The company’s stock has traded at about $63 since news of the breach leaked Dec. 18. It slipped just 67 cents, or 1 percent, to $62.67 in morning trading yesterday.
Target revealed yesterday, however, that the breach diminished holiday sales. The company cut its forecast for fourth-quarter earnings, a key sales barometer.
The theft from Target’s databases is still the second- largest data breach on record, rivaling an incident uncovered in 2007 that saw more than 90 million credit card accounts pilfered from TJX Cos. Inc.
Target tried to woo scared shoppers back to stores on the last weekend before Christmas with a 10 percent discount on nearly everything in its stores. But Customer Growth Partners LLC, a retail consultancy, estimated that the number of transactions at Target fell 3 percent to 4 percent on the Saturday before Christmas, compared with a year ago.