Area Target shoppers got stung by a mega-scam involving some 40 million compromised credit and debit card accounts that were used at Target stores nationwide.
Officials of the nation’s second-biggest discount retailer announced Thursday that Target account data — including customer names, credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards – were breached. Those affected were customers who swiped their cards at Target store terminals between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
Michelle Newman of Sheffield Township shopped at the Elyria and Avon stores during a Black Friday shopping excursion. She learned her debit card account was cleaned out Wednesday as she prepared to shop for a child through a charitable program.
She got hit for $150.
“I went to get gas and my card was declined for insufficient funds,” Newman said Thursday. “It had just been put on the card Tuesday.”
The money was attached to a state-issued debit card for child support payments. It was zapped via an ATM transaction in Great Britain.
“That’s how they knew it was fraud,” Newman said when she went online to check the card’s status and read the account was suspended due to suspected fraud. “I’ve never been out of the country and I think I’d pick a place warmer than England.”
A nursing student, Newman’s sole source of income at the moment is her child support. Because the state-issued card works like a pre-paid debit card, Newman said it’s unlikely she’ll get any of her money back.
Newman’s card was canceled and a new one re-issued, although she will have to wait about a week to get it.
“I’ve had the card 12 or 13 years and never had a problem,” according to Newman, who said the timing couldn’t be worse, coming a week before Christmas. “There were a few more items I planned to get my kids but we’ll probably have a smaller Christmas now.”
For Tina Velazquez of Lorain, she felt the sting the morning of the Ohio State-Michigan football game Nov. 30.
“I and my son were on our way to breakfast when we went to an ATM and the machine told me my card was restricted,” Velazquez said.
Befuddled by the message, she tried to get money a second time only to be rebuffed again by the machine.
“Luckily, it was about five minutes to 9, so we went straight to the bank (First Federal of Lorain) and told them my card was not working,” Velazquez said.
She learned her account was not accessible due to a pending charge. When she asked what charge, Velazquez was told it was a transaction made at a Target store in Illinois.
“They took all the money in the account down to the penny,” Velazquez said of her nearly $175 balance.
After she filed a police report, she got the money replaced by her bank, which issued her a new debit card.
Target Corp. is asking all customers to check statements carefully and to report any suspected unauthorized activity on their cards to the issuing credit card companies, and to Target by calling (866) 852-8680.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.