In the wake of Target’s credit card breach, attorneys general in several states reiterated their pledges to try to help their respective constituents whose credit card accounts were compromised to deal with the fallout.
A spokeswoman for Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said Monday, “Our office has been in direct communication with representatives from Target as well as other attorneys general concerned about this data breach. We are currently working to ascertain how many Connecticut consumers were affected by the breach and to ensure that affected consumers receive all the protections to which they are entitled.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley posted detailed recommendations as to how shoppers can protect their information against identity theft. Coakley also vowed that she will work with attorneys general across the country “to determine whether the company had proper safeguards in place to protect consumer information.”
The Democratic Attorney General Association organized a conference call with select attorneys general and Target’s legal counsel Monday to discuss the situation, according to someone who was made aware of the call. The retailer did not provide state-specific information as to how many consumers in specific states were affected.
An estimated 40 million credit card and debit card accounts of shoppers who made purchases in Target stores from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 are believed to have been affected by the security breach. While some of them aired their complaints via Twitter and Facebook, Target used its own Twitter feed to highlight what steps were being taken to deal with the breach. The retailer doubled the manpower in its call center posted Monday and promised “to work around the clock to answer your questions until all needs are met,” according to a tweet Tuesday. Earlier in the day, target tweeted, “An update for guests: we are listening to your tweets and working hard to address concerns. We appreciate your continued patience.”
In a six-page FAQ for affected shoppers, Target noted there is “zero liability for any charges that they didn’t make.” In addition, free credit monitoring is offered to all those affected, social security numbers were not compromised and no action is needed unless there are unfamiliar charges. The retailer also warned consumers to be wary of e-mail or call scams that may appear to offer protection “but are really trying to get personal information from you.”
Target also noted that the malware that was discovered on its point-of-sale systems in the U.S. on Dec. 15 “has been identified and eliminated.”
Oregon’s incoming attorney general Fred Boss is working with Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, the state agency that implements its Identity Theft Protection Act.
A spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declined to comment as to whether Schneiderman plans to speak with his counterparts in Massachusetts, South Dakota, Connecticut or in any other states regarding the matter. Nor would he say whether Schneiderman is involved in the reported investigation into the reselling of stolen credit card accounts on the black market.
After the security breach, Schneiderman’s office urged Target to provide free credit monitoring to potential New York victims. “Following the news this week of a massive breach of personal financial data belonging to millions of Target shoppers, I urged Target to offer affected New Yorkers one year of free credit monitoring to ensure they are not victims of identity theft. I’m pleased to report that, just a short time ago, Target agreed to our request,” Schneiderman said. “We urge shoppers to take advantage of this offer, and exercise additional precaution to ensure their identities and personal accounts are protected. In the coming days and weeks, I will continue to use every power at my disposal to determine the extent of this breach and help holiday shoppers protect themselves from the potential consequences of this incident and any in the future.”