Target stores data breach exposes 40 million accounts

Target, which has a Kent location, announced Thursday that it experienced a massive data breach, exposing approximately 40 million customer accounts across the United States.

The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to not panic and take proactive steps in protecting personal information, according to a media release.

The national retail chain operates more than 1,600 stores in 48 states and confirmed that the unauthorized access may impact customers who made credit or debit card purchases in U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Read the official statement here.

Shoppers that may be affected should understand that they are not liable for fraudulent charges, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Continue to monitor credit and bank statements; go online to verify account information and do not wait for paper statements. Target is in the process of notifying banks and credit providers.

Immediately report unauthorized charges and place a credit freeze on any compromised accounts.

Keep all receipts handy in case charges need to be substantiated.

Scammers will likely take advantage of this high-profile public data breach to phish for personal information. Over the next few weeks, be extremely wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls from purported financial institutions. Do not click on links, download attachments or provide information—like Social Security numbers.

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