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Target retail customer payment-card data at risk in security breach

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Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) customers who made either credit- or debit-card purchases in the company’s U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may be affected by unauthorized access to the firm’s payment-card data. Target has identified and resolved the issue, and the company is working closely with both financial institutions and law enforcement, the firm said in a statement Thursday.

“Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” company chairman, president and CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel said. “We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.” The firm estimated the security breach could have an impact on as many as 40 million accounts.

Target reported it alerted financial institutions and law enforcement immediately after it became aware of the unauthorized access to the data. Among other actions, the company said, it is partnering with a third-party forensics firm to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident. Details related to the security breach can be found on Target’s corporate Web site. Any customer who suspects unauthorized account activity should contact the company at 866-852-8680.

Based in Minneapolis, Target is commonly described as the second-largest discount retailer in the U.S., behind only Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT). In the area of home technology, its consumer-electronic offerings include cameras and camcorders, laptop and tablet personal computers, mobile phones, television sets, and video-game consoles. It has outlets in all five boroughs of New York.

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