By Lauren Wanko
A Target shopper had a cart full of merchandise this morning, but she hit a snag at the register when she swiped her debit card.
“My card was not approved. I know there was more money on there. My purchase was only $100 and it got declined,” said Ocean Township resident Kelley Aronne.
The Ocean Township resident is concerned she’s a victim of debit card fraud after learning that Target confirmed it’s aware of unauthorized access to payment card data that may have impacted customers making debit and credit card purchases in its U.S. stores.
When asked how it made her feel, Aronne said, “Mad, annoyed, violated that such a big corporation you shop in all the time could allow that to happen.”
So how could this happen?
“There’s a number of ways this can be done. If a skimmer is put in by a dishonest employee that’s part of the enterprise or someone who actually infiltrates the store in any manner of forms. It could be a customer who puts the skimmer on when the sales clerk isn’t looking. Then there’s also the possibility it’s two prong and that is the info could also be intercepted electronically,” said Monmouth University Professor John Comiskey.
The information that may have been stolen includes customers’ names, debit and credit card numbers, expiration dates and the three digit security codes.
“What’s going to happen is this person’s gonna be inconvenienced at great lengths. Their cards are gonna be cut and the credit card company and the financial institutions are gonna do an investigation in to see if the victim was a true victim,” Comiskey said.
The retailer says, “Target alerted authorities and financial institutions immediately after it was made aware of the unauthorized access, and is putting all appropriate resources behind these efforts,” adding they’re partnering with a leading third party forensics firm to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.
This worried shopper used both her credit card and debit cards at Target since Thanksgiving. She came into the store today just to ask Target staffers for an update.
“They told me everything’s OK and I don’t have to do anything. I’m still uneasy,” said Toms River resident Theresa.
“Absolutely concerned about it because I shop here at least once a week,” said Cyndi Dalakian of Colts Neck.
On its website, Target states the issue has been identified and resolved. Still today some shoppers are thinking twice about using plastic.
When asked if he was going to use a credit card, Al Bertuzzi of Ocean said, “No, not today”
“I’m really getting concerned that someone will steal my identify,” said Holmdel resident Beverly Gaida.
“It’s very scary you know. Nothing is safe any more,” said Ocean resident Helen Bertuzzi.
So what’s the best way to protect yourself from credit card fraud? Experts say harden your passwords and check your accounts frequently