STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Target may have trouble with Internet security, but showed it still understands some basics of retailing. The company suffered a data breach affecting 40 million credit and debit account holders. So naturally they did what any researcher would do with some publicity in a holiday season: announce a sale.
Over the weekend the chain offered a 10 percent discount as an act of atonement. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The breach affected customers who used their credit and debit cards at one of Target's 1,750 stores during a three-week period after Thanksgiving. Brian Krebs, who broke the story in his cybersecurity blog, says he's already found evidence that some of these cards are being sold illegally online.
BRIAN KREBS: It's clear that a large chunk, if not all of these cards, are being pushed out into the underground market. The question is: How much can the criminal community absorb?
ZARROLI: Over the weekend, JPMorgan Chase limited the amount of cash withdrawals by customers who had shopped at Target in recent weeks. And it opened some of its branches to help customers deal with the problem. It did so even though Target says there's no evidence the hackers acquired customer PIN numbers, which means they couldn't use Chase ATMs anyway.
Target tried to assure its customers that they will have zero liability for charges they didn't authorize, and it offered a discount to lure them back into the stores. Outside a Target in Washington, D.C., Alexandra Neustadt said the whole incident had made her think twice about the way she shops.
ALEXANDRA NEUSTADT: It does make you kind of think you should check your credit card statements. Maybe not do so many transactions on credit cards that are in different stores, different locations, online. You know, I just use it as if it's nothing, and I think I need to pay more attention.
ZARROLI: Meanwhile, Target's Facebook page had plenty of scathing comments from customers whose accounts have been compromised or who were unable to use their Chase debit cards because of the bank restrictions. And one retail consulting firm estimated that business was down 3 to 4 percent at Target, not something a retailer wants to see on the crucial weekend before Christmas. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.
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