story of a credit card security breach at Target department stores has captured
national attention this Holiday season. About 40 million credit and debit
card users are at risk of identity theft after the data breach, which
took place between November 27 and December 15. Now, one Target shopper
has filed a lawsuit again the discount store chain, alleging invasion
of privacy and negligence in Target’s failure to protect the credit
card data of the plaintiff.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco last week,
accuses Target of failing “to implement and maintain reasonable
security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature and scope
of the information compromised in the data breach.” According to an
article in Bloomberg, the lawsuit also expresses concern that that the data breach may permit
the counterfeiting of credit cards, and may have revealed customers’
personal debit card codes.
Possibility of Class Action Lawsuit
The plaintiff will seek to represent other Target customers in a class-action
lawsuit. The number of potential plaintiffs is vast, and time will tell
how the case evolves going forward. The current suit also accuses Target
of not publicizing the breach once they found out about it, and misleading
the public into thinking that the problem had been resolved. Target has
nearly 1,800 stores in the United States and is a highly profitable company,
especially during the holiday season.
It is still not clear exactly how the breach occurred. Most likely, criminals
used a computer virus to infect the terminals through which customers
swipe their cards when making a purchase. By failing to protect customers’
private information, the lawsuit claims, Target effectively invaded their
privacy and was negligent. In order to succeed on the negligence claim,
the plaintiff would have to show that Target owed a duty to its customers
and breached that duty by failing to act as a reasonable corporation would.
How to Protect Your Information
If you made credit or debit card purchases at Target this Holiday season,
there are some steps you should take to protect your private information,
besides talking to an
attorney. You should check your credit card and bank statements for charges you
do not recognize. If you find fraudulent charges, contact your bank or
credit card company and ask them to remove the charges and investigate
the activity. You may also want to cancel your credit card and run a credit
report. Target should be willing to work with you directly in addressing
the problem. If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you
should contact the police.
What to Do if You Are the Victim of Identity Theft
Finally, if you have been a victim of identity theft, or suspect that you
may be at risk for identity theft, you should contact a civil litigation
attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and
determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you seek
the compensation you deserve.