Victims of data theft eye Target for lawsuits; customers still sorting through mess

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Target, the national retailer, is now the target of three class action lawsuits. This follows the data theft of some 40-million credit and debit card accounts between November 27th and December 15th.

Now, more and more, customers are discovering their credit card numbers may have been hacked. Jennifer Trexler was actually notified by her bank of the suspicious charges over the weekend. The good news is she won't be charged for the bogus transactions, the bad news is her checking account may be frozen for a week.

Over the weekend, Target offered customers a 10 percent discount in its U.S. stores and the company said it would provide free credit monitoring to at-risk customers.

“You don't think it's going to happen to you and then all of a sudden you get the call from the bank and you're like, ‘Ugh, it did happen to me,’" Trexler said.

She used a Visa debit card at Target on Black Friday. A few weeks later she learned someone else was using her number in Arizona.

“A $110 charge to Walmart and $10 to a gas station in Arizona,” she said.

A $120 set of charges may not sound like a lot, but it's more than she had in her checking account. Her bank told her it was probably related to the Target breach and immediately canceled her card and ordered her a new one.

"I've worked at a bank, I still work at a bank and it's very easy to get a hold of people's information and like I said, you don't have to have a pin number as the only thing to run it at a store. All you need is the card number anymore, you can run it as a credit,” she said.

Which is why many consumer experts say it's time for the U.S. to follow Europe's lead and create more hacker-resistant credit cards. Currently, most account information is contained on magnetic  strips on the card's back side and is easily replicated.in most parts of the world. Credit cards contain digital chips with a unique code, hard to copy, if your card is lost or stolen.

“I’m actually really happy my bank caught it before they got too out of control with anything,” Trexler said.

Banks and credit card companies say they monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity. As long as you flag it, consumers shouldn't be on the hook. If you're a possible victim of the Target security breach, don't become a victim of fraud.

Missouri's Attorney General is warning potential victims to be careful providing personal or financial information over the phone or in response to e-mails. Chris Koster says thieves pretending to be from Target or a consumer`s bank or credit-card company are contacting consumers. The thieves can use this information to steal your identity.

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