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Several NM credit unions canceling cards due to Target data breach

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Shoppers arrive at a Target store in Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Shoppers arrive at a Target store in Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Several New Mexico credit unions have begun canceling debit or credit cards and issuing new ones — or plan to do so shortly — in connection with the huge data breach that could affect as many as 40 million shoppers at Target stores around the country.

“Your New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union Visa Debit Card account may have been part of an extensive security breach at Target stores across the country,” according to a email sent to one Journal subscriber.

“This breach impacts consumers who shopped at a Target from Wednesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 15, 2013.

“We are issuing you a new card,” the email continued. “Your current Visa Debit Card will be deactivated no later than January 4, 2014. A replacement card has been issued and is being mailed to you.

A report from KrebsOnSecurity, the website run by cyber-security reporter Brian Krebs, who initially broke the story about the Target breach, said some of the cards at risk already were for sale on black markets around the world.

“Credit and debit card accounts stolen in a recent data breach at retail giant Target have been flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.”

Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to Target’s security breach said they had trouble contacting the discounter through its website and call centers. Angry Target customers expressed their displeasure in comments on the company’s Facebook page. Some even threatened to stop shopping at the store.

And one Christmas shopper filed suit Thursday in San Francisco federal court, claiming she may have been exposed to identity theft from a data breach, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Target apologized on Facebook and said it’s working hard to resolve the problem and is adding more workers to field calls and help solve website issues.

The fury and frustration come as the nation’s second-largest discounter acknowledged Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Target, which operates five stores in Albuquerque, disclosed the theft a day after reports that the company was investigating a breach.

Jan Hoffmann of Santa Fe heard early morning news reports about the scam Thursday and checked the only account she uses at the store.

“I am checking it more often, every two or three days,” said Hoffmann, who just moved here from Phoenix and was shopping at the Santa Fe store Thursday.

Christopher Browning, of Chesterfield, Va., said he was the victim of credit card fraud earlier this week and believes it was tied to a purchase he made at Target with his Visa card on Black Friday.

On Monday, Browning received a call from his bank’s anti-fraud unit saying there were two attempts to use his credit card in California — one at a casino in Tracey, Calif., for $8,000 and the other at a casino in Pacheco for $3,000. Both occurred on Sunday and both were denied. He canceled his credit card and plans to use cash.

Customers who made purchases by swiping their cards at its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed.

Target is advising them to check their statements carefully. Those who see suspicious charges should report them to their credit card companies and call Target at 866-852-8680.

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