The 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.