In a statement as well as a YouTube video, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized to customers who were affected by a massive data breach involving millions of credit and debit cards. A 10 percent discount was also offered to all customers this past weekend as well as free credit monitoring services to those impacted.
The message, delivered Friday after the stock market's close, came amid multiple reports that bogus credit cards were reaching the black market and financial institutions began placing restrictions on some cardholders.
"It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests," Mr. Steinhafel said in a statement. "We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores."
Mr. Steinhafel also apologized to guests who tried to reach Target via its website or call center while it faces "unprecedented call volume." Customers were assured they won't be held financially responsible for fraud on their cards. Target also said it had found no evidence that secret security PINs or codes had been exposed.
But widespread media coverage continued amid reports that fraudulent cards were being sold in batches of a million, with some cards going for as low as $20 and some as much as $100.
On Saturday, JPMorgan Chase notified customers they would be limited to $100 in cash withdrawals and $300 in total purchases per day if they used Chase debit cards at Target during the security breach. Citibank said it would lower limits, block transactions and reissue cards for debit cardholders if it saw suspicious activity. Three class-action lawsuits were filed.
On Target's Facebook page, Target REDcard's website page's crashes and long phone call waits created fresh fodder for the many irate messages.
The question remained whether Target was negligent in missing the still-puzzling breach, as well as why they waited until Dec. 19, a day after a blogger broke the news, to reveal the hack attack.
The value of a 10 percent discount, which excludes video games, gift cards, and a few other items, amid holiday promotions was also questioned.
"With these data security breaches, there's usually the question of consumer confidence and trust," Daren M. Orzechowski, an intellectual property attorney with White & Case LLP, told USA Today. "They have to balance if they feel they need to do more to try to preserve consumer confidence."
How would you grade Target's response so far to its data breach?