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Target security breach: What you need to know

Published On: Dec 19 2013 07:07:44 PM CST

Target Breach

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. -

A massive security breach has millions of Target shoppers frantically checking their bank accounts.

On Thursday, Target confirmed that millions of customer names, security codes and credit information were exposed during a 19 day time period.

If you've done some shopping at any Target in the U.S. between November 27th and December 15th, you may be one of the 40 million people who've been exposed to this massive data breach.

It's a crime that may have reached 18 hundred stores across the country.

"I'm freaked out, you know it's scary and I'm wondering, if I'm one of them because I'm sure I've been in target during that time," said a Target shopper.

It's a crime that could have taken years to plan.

But experts say people need to stay calm.

"The first thing everyone needs to keep in mind is to not panic. That's the first thing everyone wants to do, grab their checkbooks and start cancelling accounts. You honestly shouldn't do that, don't jump to the conclusion that you have been targeted," said Krystal Johnston with the Better Business Bureau.

Experts also say to keep a close eye on your bank account.

"See what purchases were made and that they were verified purchases. A red flag would be small purchases. Scammers tend to make small purchases to begin with that are one dollar, 2 dollars, five dollars, all from an account that’s not known," explains Johnston.

The timing couldn't be any worse.

If you did any shopping on Black Friday, you could be a victim.

But not if you did you’re shopping online.

"The fact that it was on location and in retail stores, was a very big shock," said Johnston.

"Kind of scares me knowing someone could of breached through all those credit cards and could be targeting some innocent person...I thought in person would be safer," said another Target shopper.

In fact, a lot of shoppers told us they're more comfortable shopping in person, rather than going online. But in this case, no online shoppers were affected. That's because the breach used the magnetic strips on credit cards to gain consumers information.

And it may not be over yet.

More crooks may copycat the national scam.

"They will be making phone calls, wanting to know if you were a victim of the Target scam. If somebody does call you saying they’re with Target, please hang up on them. Don't give them any of your information, you call target directly, don't wait for target to call you," said Johnston.

A Target spokesperson says people will be reimbursed for any fraudulent charges.

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