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WSB issuing debit cards to members who shopped at Target during breach

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Watertown Savings Bank will ease the minds of its members by issuing 1,300 replacement debit cards for those who made purchases at Target from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, when the retailer had a data breach that potentially affected 40 million customers.

Though no members’ bank accounts have been affected by the breach, it decided to eliminate the chance of future problems by mailing free replacement debit cards to members who made purchases at Target during the 19-day breach, CEO Mark R. Lavarnway said. After customers who made transactions at Target during the breach period were identified, the bank mailed them letters last week to inform them that replacement cards would arrive by mail in about two weeks.

So far, the bank is the only financial institution in the region that has taken the initiative to replace debit cards of those who shopped at Target during its data breach. The national retailer has a location on Towne Center Drive.

“Of our 20,000 customers, we had roughly 1,300 that we sent letters to,” Mr. Lavarnway said. “We decided to be proactive and make sure we stick up for our customers. Because the accounts met the criteria announced by Target, they could theoretically have been hacked. Nothing has happened, but we’re not going to wait around for something to happen. It’s an effort to protect our customers, their money, headaches and hassle.”

Other financial institutions in the region, such as Northern Credit Union, have urged members to replace debit cards free of charge if they suspect problems related to the Target breach. The credit union’s website, http://wdt.me/gBHqry, includes a list of steps members should take to ensure the safety of their accounts.

Target, meanwhile, is conducting a criminal and forensic investigation into the data breach incident. On Friday, the company reported it is confident personal identification numbers of customers are secure because information was encrypted during the data breach.

Visit http://wdt.me/JUAduh for more resources and information about the Target data breach.

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