Target faces class-action lawsuits over security breach - FOX 32 News Chicago

Target faces class-action lawsuits over security breach

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

After disclosing one of the largest credit card security hacks in history, Target is now finding itself the target of multiple lawsuits.

At the same time, customers of the giant retailer are flooding phone lines, trying to figure out whether they are victims.

SEE: Target offers 10 percent discount for holiday weekend

At least 11 customers from across the United States have now filed lawsuits against Target over the massive security breach that exposed the credit card information of 40 million accounts.

Shoppers at the Target store in the South Loop say they've been taking steps to protect themselves since news broke last week about the stolen credit card information.

"I monitor my card on a daily basis and if I see anything unusual, I'll just get in contact with my bank," Target shopper Janee Johnson says.

"I just came from the bank to make sure my balance was okay and nothing was taken out of my account," Deja Nae tells FOX 32 about taking action.

But in addition to consulting their banks, some Target shoppers are consulting their attorney. Already, 11 lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages have been filed in a half dozen states across the country, including Illinois.

"These are going to be class action lawsuits," attorney Karen Conti says. "There are so many people involved that the way the law usually handles these types of cases is that one lawsuit usually gets brought together."

Chicago attorney Karen Conti, who is not involved in the Target litigation, says lawyers will be looking at whether Target bears any responsibility for the security breach.

"Did target make a mistake by not having the right software, the right computers to prevent this kind of fraud?" Conti asks.

The thieves managed to steal the information by installing malware on checkout credit card readers at some 1,800 stores.

Security researchers say some of the stolen credit card numbers have turned up on underground markets.

Major U.S. banks have moved to limit damages by putting spending limits on credit and debit cards used at Target stores between November 27th and December 15th.

Roberta Goering says Chase Bank put a $300 limit on her husband's card.

"Of course it is [a hassle]," shopper Roberta Goering says. "But you know Target is not the only place that's had security breaches. It's a big one. It's a horrible time of year, cause everybody's buying things they don't normally buy."

"I suspect that as a result of this class action lawsuit, we're going to find that retailers are going to be much more careful in their software and computers in preventing this kind of fraud," Conti adds. "And that's a good thing."

The security breach is also putting the squeeze on Target's profit margins. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the retailer saw sales drop by three or four percent this past weekend compared to a year ago. That's despite a ten percent discount on all purchases in U.S. stores over the weekend as something of a mea culpa to its customers.

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