Target Data Breach Manages To Keep Getting Worse; Now It’s 70 Million Customers’ Data Stolen [UPDATE]

UPDATE: The bad news just keeps on rolling in. Reports now indicate the 70 million customers whose names, addresses, and e-mails were breached are in addition to the original 40 million stolen credit cards, bringing the total number of affected folks potentially to as many as 110 million.

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Original Post: Right before Christmas, Target reluctantly announced that credit and debit card data for over 40 million customers had been stolen between Black Friday and December 15. After Christmas, it came to light that PIN information had also been targeted in that breach.

And yet somehow, it manages to keep getting worse. This morning, Target announced that the number of customers who have had their personal information stolen is not the 40 million previously announced, but instead turns out to be more like 70 million.

(Just for reference, the entire population of the United States is about 314 million–so that’s close to a quarter of the country now involved.)

The only thing even approaching a silver lining? Not all 70 million customers are necessarily looking at their credit card data being loosed into the wild. The data includes “names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses,” Target says.

For customers whose e-mail addresses the store has, they will be sending out informational messages to “affected guests.”

Target is also now offering one free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection to customers. Folks who have shopped at Target have three months to enroll in the program; enrollment details are coming next week.

Target has also set up a web page specifically dealing with and linking to all of their news and information about the data breach disaster.

The weekend before Christmas, Target held a 10% storewide sale by way of apology to their 40 million customers. Double the breach, double the savings? Maybe this time their “our bad” sale will be 20%. In the meantime, as always, if you used a credit or debit card at the chain between Thanksgiving and December 15, make sure to keep a close eye on your statements for any unusual or fraudulent activity.

Target Provides Update on Data Breach and Financial Performance [Target press release]