FORT MYERS, Fla. - Target is trying to make amends after a major security breach. This weekend, the chain is offered customers a 10% store wide discount after the retail giant announced 40-million customers' credit and debit card information was compromised.
Wink News spoke to a local identity theft expert who says even if you don't see fraudulent charges yet, it doesn't mean you're in the clear.
Just days after Target told millions of customers their credit and debit card information may have been hacked many shoppers are back to the business of buying.
"I will use my credit card today. That's how I make a lot of my purchases and debit cards too," said Target shopper Jennifer Anderson.
"I'm not terribly concerned. Although I probably should be," said shopper Caroline Ficquette.
But are these happy holiday shoppers really in the clear or moving targets for future fraud?
"You could see something 3 months, 6 months, 9 months down the road. Keep an eye on your accounts. Eventually people are going to forget and that's when the criminals are going to use the card numbers again," said identity theft expert Carrie Kerskie.
Kerskie says people using plastic should stick to credit cards and stay away from debit cards tied to their bank accounts.
"If you used a credit card, you don't have anything to worry about. If you See a fraudulent charge, call your credit card company and they'll send you a new one in the mail.
If you used a debit card, you have a little more work to do because that money will be taken directly out of your account and the banks are not required to put it back in immediately," she said.
According to Target, the unauthorized access took place in US stores between November 27th and December 15th.
Kerskie says the hackers targeted the retailer's point-of-sale system.
"This was organized crime. A large ring. They are very experienced and they timed this strategically during the busiest shopping time of the year," she said.
So how did these hackers attack the nation's second largest retailer?
Kerskie says it's easier than you may think.
"You can buy all the equipment online and there are YouTube videos that will teach you how to do it. They can even do it remotely through bluetooth or through a credit card. so when they swipe the credit card, it uploads malware. It's a virus and it spreads through every store nationwide. These criminals are ten steps ahead. The minute we come out with another level of protection they are already figuring out a way to work around it," she stated.