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Target offers discount, credit monitoring to apologize for data breach

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Target stores nationwide will offer shoppers 10 percent discount today and Sunday, the same amount that store employees receive, as an apology for a data breach that potentially affected about 40 million credit and debit cards.

The breach, involving cards used to make purchases from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, also spurred the national retailer to offer one year of free credit monitoring services to all potential New York victims. State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, whose office urged Target to offer services, urged residents to take advantage of that program. In the north country, Target has a store on Towne Center Drive in Watertown.

“We urge shoppers to take advantage of this offer, and exercise additional precaution to ensure their identities and personal accounts are protected,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a release. “In the coming days and weeks, I will continue to use every power at my disposal to determine the extent of this breach and help holiday shoppers protect themselves from the potential consequences of this incident and any in the future.”

Target, which has nearly 1,800 U.S. stores, is teaming with a third-party forensics firm to investigate and prevent future problems. The theft is the second-largest credit card breach in U.S. history, exceeded only by a scam that began in 2005 involving retailer TJX Cos. That incident affected at least 45.7 million card users.

The company reported Friday that there is no indication PIN numbers on debit cards were affected. It also said it had no indication that customers’ birth dates or Social Security numbers were compromised. The CVV data that may have been accessed was in the magnetic strip and not the three or four-digit code visible on cards that would allow someone to make an online purchase. Target alerted credit card networks (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express) and provided them the card numbers of customers who may have been affected.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement that the breach has been eliminated.

“We recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season,” he said. “We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores.”

Customers who see suspicious charges should report them to their credit card company and call Target at 866-852-8680. Cases of identity theft can also be reported to law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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