Target is my favorite store…so when it came time to bust-out my holiday shopping, using my store debit card and getting 5% discounted was a no-brainer.

Sadly, that meant I was left in the security lurch along with 40 million other customers.

Law enforcement, including the U.S. Secret Service and the state attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts are looking into the matter. The chain said today that there have been few reports of fraud and that customers won’t be held responsible for any that took place.

The breach occurred when a computer virus infected Target’s point-of-sale terminals, said a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the investigation is private. Swiping cards had been considered safer than shopping online because the data is harder to steal, according to Dan Kaminsky, co-founder and chief scientist at White Ops, a cybersecurity firm in New York.

“Attacks of this scale are common, but attacks that get this class of data are unusual,” Kaminsky said. “It’s a war out there.”

Once I heard, I made many failed attempts to cancel the card via phone. In the meantime, I had my bank stop all payments on the card. Unhappily, other Target customers were not so lucky:

Jami Aspenwall, a 36-year-old mother of five from Cartersville, Georgia, said she canceled her Target-issued debit card after someone made $500 in purchases with it. Those losses will now force her to postpone a trip to Tampa, Florida, to see relatives for Christmas because her bank said it may take two weeks to get the money back.

Such an economic challenge such during the most important shopping season is troubling on many levels. In fact, the Department of Justice is now conducting an investigation, with an assist from the US Secret Service.

The investigation comes after Target revealed last week that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts were stolen between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Security experts say it’s the second-largest theft of card accounts in U.S. history, surpassed only by a scam that began in 2005 involving retailer TJX Cos. That affected at least 45.7 million card users.

…The Department of Justice declined to comment on whether it’s investigating the breach at Target, the nation’s second-largest discounter. But Target said that it’s cooperating with the DOJ’s probe.

The news came as Target also said that it is working with the U.S. Secret Service in the retailer’s own investigation and that its general counsel held a conference call on Monday with state attorneys general to bring them up to date on the breach.

It beggars the imagination to anticipate what the group that spearheaded “Fast and Furious” and the team that has become infamous for “booze-fueled antics” and Colombian call-girls will uncover.

Perhaps what should be more concerning to investigators are Obamacare-related security breaches. Yet, it doesn’t rise to the same level of concern for the Washington “smart set”.

When the federal Obamacare exchange was being developed by HHS prior to its troubled launch on Oct. 1, experts told the department that it should include a data-breach provision in its policies for the website even though one was not required under federal law.

The department flatly declined to do so.

And, given the extensive amount of personal information on given during the Obamacare application process,I fear that certain entities (i.e. Iran, China) are actually paying more attention to the situation than the people we trust to handle these matters.

I can only wonder if Obama is going to promise 10% off the bronze plan after all the complaints!


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