The Poorman's OC '4 Under $6': 5 "Truths or Myths" About the Target Hacking Fiasco
The nation's No. 2 general merchandise retailer, Target (or as I like to pronounce it in my finest French accent "Tar Jaaay"), has been in the spotlight quite a bit during the past 3 weeks. Unfortunately, the words "hack" and "credit card fraud" have become associated with the added publicity. If you've followed this story closely or maybe are personally involved due to the fact you shopped at Target during the holiday season as I did, you've heard all kinds of "news" about what happened. How much of it is truth, rumor, half truths, urban legend, lies, media hype, or general overreaction? I will attempt to clear things up by presenting to you for the 1st and only time the...
Target Top 5: 'Truths or Myths?'
Truth Or Myth #1
Target got "Hacked" during the prime Christmas shopping season only. It may have impacted as many as 40 million shoppers at their stores between November 27 and December 15, 2013 who used credit, debit, and Target Red Cards. Target has since stated that it has "identified and eliminated" the threat posed by the unauthorized access by unknown parties to its customer payment card data.
Unfortunately, the Nightmare Continues. Yes, it is "Truth" that Target got "Hacked". More importantly, the "Myth" is that the threat has been "identified and eliminated". Yesterday I spoke with a Target Customer Service Representative who told me the number of people affected by the credit card fraud has grown beyond the original 40 million. The Representative additionally stated that breaches have occurred beyond the original above mentioned dates. Based on taking thousands of calls, he recommends that if you've recently shopped at Target, change your card immediately! That does not sound very good. You can contact Target Customer Service at (866) 852-8680.
That's the reason I'm doing this story. The whole thing is almost surreal. I rarely shop at Target, but this Christmas season I did. As part of my "research" for a recent OC Weekly article entitled Top 10 Christmas Gifts "4 Under $6", I spent a whopping $16 on several 'Under $6' items at the Target Huntington Beach East store on Brookhurst and Adams. Ironically, none of them made my Top 10 list. They were Giant Lifesavers ($3.99), Snickers ($3.49), Nestle Crunch ($3.49), and Baby Ruth ($3.49) purchased on December 8th. I paid using the Poor Debit Card (See Purchases and Receipt Pics).
Luckily, it has not been "hacked" yet. In case you're concerned (can't imagine anybody besides my Mom and Dad are), I'm probably going to change the card this week. On a side note, Target doesn't have great deals compared to other retailers such as Kmart, Michaels, and Ikea. Karma baby!
Truth Or Myth #3
All the credit, debit, and Target Red Card holder shopping victims who had their information "hacked" were personally notified by Target Representatives at the time the breaches were publicly announced by a Target Media Spokesperson on December 19th.
Are you kidding!?! Nobody was notified by Target personally. Many of us, including myself, found out through the media announcement on December 19th. Others heard about it through other media reports, word of mouth, a Target website announcement, or suddenly discovering their cards were hacked. On it's website, Target warned customers that the criminals had stolen names, payment card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. That's a great big "Merry Christmas" to it's customers. I was never notified personally by Target either then or since. I'm guessing nobody else was either.