The Second Largest Credit Card Breach in U.S. History- and What You Need to Do About It

Yesterday, Target announced that their security had been breached, affecting up to 40 million cards used for purchases in Target stores in the U.S. between Black Friday, which was November 27th, &this last Sunday, December 15th. A lot of data was stolen, including customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates, and CVV. It was the second-biggest card security breach in U.S. history- so there’s a good chance that you or someone you know may have been affected.

target shopping

I personally shop at Target both in store and online, and now that the store nearest me has a grocery section, I find myself there quite often. In fact, between holiday shopping & grocery shopping, I’ve been there about five times in the two weeks that the breach was occurring- and a couple of those visits, I swiped my card more than once {they have a Starbucks inside & I may have treated myself to a decaf Peppermint Mocha or two}.

If you’re like me & you swiped a credit or debit card at Target during the breach, what should you do?

1. Check your bank account immediately. Look for any suspicious or out of place charges & be sure to report them to your bank. In this particular instance, you should also contact Target at 866-852-8680.

2. Order a new card {or two}. I always use my Target REDcard {their debit card that works just like my bank issued debit card, which uses my checking account but allows me to save 5% on the spot at Target} so I know that it’s the only one that was compromised during this time. If you sometimes alternate between cards, be sure to request a replacement card for each one.

3. Change your PIN number. When you receive your new card, don’t use the same PIN you used on the last one since that number has already been compromised. Be sure that when you select a new number, you don’t use anything too obvious or easy to guess.

4. Shop safely. Target has a very high level of security- so high that they have acknowledged that it’s likely that this was an inside job, because their security should be too hard for anyone to crack. If a giant store like that can be compromised, that means anyone can- both brick-and-mortar stores and websites. Be sure to check your bank activity on a regular basis, and be sure to protect yourself with a VPN service like Hotspot Shield when shopping online.


Currently, Target is working as hard as they can to find out who was responsible for this &they are trying to remedy the situation. They already fixed the problem with the security and it is safe to shop there again- but if you already shopped there between 11/27 & 12/15, be sure to follow the steps above to make sure you’re in the clear!


Note: This post is part of an ambassadorship with Hotspot Shield. All opinions are my own.

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  1. says

    So, I know this was just a mistake, and things happen… But it freaks me out! Especially at Christmas time! I ALWAYS check my bank account after a day of shopping. And I will check it 3-4 times a day (thank goodness for free online banking) during high shopping times like Christmas and Birthdays. Thanks for the great tips!! :)
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  2. David Smith says

    Someone is gonna lose their job over this I bet. I’m glad I don’t shop at Target (nearest is 80 miles over the mountain). I don’t have a credit card anyway, just one debit card. I hope they find out how this happened and catch the ones who did it. Anyone who has shopped there should keep an eye out on their account and maybe get another card or sign up for a fraud protection service.

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