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[January 18, 2014]
Target's email response has victims fearing another scam [Virginian - Pilot]
(Virginian - Pilot Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) By Bree Fowler The Associated Press NEW YORK An email sent to the roughly 70 million Target customers who may have been affected by a pre-Christmas data breach is causing panic among those who fear it could be an attempt to victimize them again.
Target says the email, which offers free credit monitoring services to potential victims of the breach, is legitimate. But the company has identified a handful of scammers who are trying to take advantage of the public's fear and confusion.
Shawn Blakeman, 42, of Raleigh, N.C., received Target's email Friday morning, but he didn't click on the link it contained "just in case it was some kind of a website that I couldn't get out of or had a hidden virus," he says .
When Target's email began circulating earlier this week, many recipients questioned its authenticity. The email was especially suspicious to people who say they haven't set foot in a Target store in years.
According to Target, hackers stole data related to 40 million credit and debit card accounts and also pilfered personal information, including email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses and names of as many as 70 million customers.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said it's those 70 million people that Target contacted by email. Those people could have last shopped at a Target store months, or even years, ago.
Meanwhile, consumers are right to be wary of emails purportedly sent by Target. Snyder said the retailer has stopped more than a dozen operations that sought to scam breach victims by way of email, phone calls, and text messages.
Target said all of the letters it's sending to shoppers are posted on the company's website, along with information about what customers need to do to sign up for Target's free credit monitoring.
Snyder said the information gathered for the free service won't be used for marketing. While shoppers are being offered the option of continuing the monitoring service after a year, they won't be automatically re-enrolled in the service or receive a bill.
70 million affected Before Christmas, Target reported hackers stole credit and debit card data related to 40 million customers and gained access to personal information, including email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses and names of as many as 70 million.
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