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Target cuts iPhone 5s, 5c and iPad Air prices following massive data leak

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Target's leak of 40 million customers' credit and debit card authorization numbers is a serious problem, as highlighted in the Dec. 21 Plain Dealer, and Target is taking serious steps to attract customers. To avoid substantial losses of business, Target is offering new discounts including good deals on iPhones and iPads.

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Update: See these articles for advice on dealing with the Target breach. For best iPhone 5c prices, see Best Buy beats Target and Walmart with free iPhone 5c.

Apple Insider reports that Target stores are having a sale on iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPad Mini and iPad Air from Sunday Dec. 22 through Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Furthermore, National Public Radio reported that Target is offering 10% off everything on Dec. 21 and Dec 22, to attract shoppers in the wake of the massive theft of customer information. That makes Target the lowest priced place we've seen to buy these devices. That also raises questions about how to deal with the data leak and prevent future problems.

Here are Target's latest prices on select Apple products:

iPhone 5s: $179.99 plus receive a $25 Target gift card (2-year service contract required).

iPhone 5c: $30 plus receive a $30 Target gift card (2-year service contract required).

iPad Mini: $299 plus receive a $30 Target gift card (the original iPad Mini without Retina Display, 16 GB, wifi only).

iPad Air: $479 plus receive a $20 Target gift card (16GB wifi only model).

What to do if you used a debit or credit card to buy anything at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15: It's a good idea to cancel that card now, according to the Plain Dealer's Theresa Dixon Murray (see article). The thieves who stole the card information are already selling it on the black market and all these cards need to be cancelled.

Meanwhile, check your account daily by calling your bank or by using your bank's online system. If you see any transactions you did not authorize:

  • Call your bank as soon as possible to report the unauthorized transactions.
  • Keep notes of the date and time that you called to report the fraudulent use and names of anyone you talk to.
  • If the unauthorized activity is on a debit card, you need to get your money out of the associated account and you also need to take steps to cover your valid outstanding checks and payments that you make from that account so that you minimize overdraft fees, which can be high.
  • Follow up by mailing the bank a letter that restates the problem, the date you called, what the bank said they'd do and who you talked to. Keep a copy of that letter.

Your bank is not legally obligated to manage the overdraft problems you will have if your debit card is used fraudulently so you need to take the initiative and stay on top of the situation. Most banks have policies to help customers whose debit cards were compromised but they do charge fees for unpaid checks.

If the unauthorized transaction is on a credit card, there are stronger laws protecting you: you will probably not owe anything if you report the invalid transaction right after it occurs, and your liability is limited to $50 even if you wait 60 days to report the unauthorized activity.

Note that Chase Bank (see NYTimes article) has set limits of $300 per day for purchases, and $100 per day for cash withdrawals, on the Chase debit cards that were used at Target during the breach period. This affects two million customers. Chase notified them on Dec. 21 by email. This is a strong indication that Chase considers those debit cards to have been compromised.

If you're skeptical as to whether Target has truly stopped the data leakage problem, then pay in cash if you shop there in the future, and make plans to use your Target gift cards quickly. With all that said, Target, a strong retailer, is not the first to be hit by a fraudulent data leak. Those affected by past data leaks such as the one at TJMaxx have come back and their customers were made whole. Target's announcements make it clear they intend to assist customers in solving any problems resulting from their leak.

Copyright © 2013 Susan J. Walker. Subscribe above to receive an email whenever Susan Walker publishes on Follow @WalkerSusanJ on Twitter.

More articles:

Best wireless deals: Comparing Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T.

Verizon cuts prices with new "More Everything" plan.

Comparing HTC M8 to iPhone: Hands-on, features and specs.

Both Target and Best Buy offer $50 gift cards with purchase of new iPhone 5s.

Predicting iPhone 6: Size, features and release date.

High-tech Valentine's Day gifts with low prices.

7 fun and favorite Super Bowl ads.

4 ways T-Mobile is trying to get you to switch carriers.

Best Buy to reduce iPad Air price by $50 on Jan. 24 and 25.

Google Glass now sports prescription lenses plus new apps at CES.

Best Buy offers best iPhone 5s and 5c price; Target is second best.

Best Buy beats Target and Walmart with free iPhone 5c.

Target security breach: Best iPhone 5c deal and advice for shoppers.

How to get the best price on an iPad Air.

iPhone 5C best deals: Comparing Walmart, Best Buy,T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T.

Google Nexus, iPad and more: Great tablet deals for holiday giving.

iPad to have larger screen in 2014, nickname: iPad Pro.

Verizon offers $100 off popular new iPad Air, Galaxy Tab and other new tablets.

iFrogz ear buds from Verizon: High-tech gift in low price range.

Moto X compared to iPhone.

Why iPhone 5s is more popular than iPhone 5c.

Easy way to compare Obamacare prices: HealthSherpa website.

T-Mobile's Simple Choice plan allows data usage outside U.S.

Verizon Droid Maxx: Hands-on comparison to iPhone.

7 good places to sell or trade your iPhone and how much they pay.

Best iPad deals: Walmart vs. Target for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Samsung Galaxy S4 free at Best Buy or Walmart on Black Friday.

Copyright © 2013 Susan J. Walker. Subscribe above to receive an email whenever Susan Walker publishes on Follow @WalkerSusanJ on Twitter.


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