News that nearly 40 million Target customers may have had their credit information compromised while shopping there between November 27 (Black Friday) and December 15 has angered customers in these final, most important shopping days of the year. Even worse are reports that compromised card numbers are now flooding the global black market, where, according to the New York Times , “they’re being sold for as little as $20 to a high of $100 per card.”
In a Thursday statement, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized for the fiasco, saying, “We recognize this has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. Our guests’ trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right.” But, please, nobody panic! He added, “We want our guests to understand that just because they shopped at Target during the impacted time frame, it doesn’t mean they are victims of fraud. In fact, in other similar situations, there are typically low levels of actual fraud. Most importantly, we want to reassure guests that they will not be held financially responsible for any credit and debit card fraud.”
Target may soon have to deal with the legal implications of this matter. State attorneys general in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South Dakota have demanded more information about the security breach, and a woman named Jennifer Kirk filed a lawsuit with the San Francisco federal court accusing the country’s number-two retailer of negligence.
In an attempt to make things right, the company will offer customers a one-time ten-percent discount Saturday and Sunday on their in-store purchases (online customers’ accounts weren’t compromised, so they don’t get the deal). But it might not be enough. Ken Perkins, founder of Retail Metrics, told the Times, “Given how deep discounts have been across the retail landscape this holiday season, I don’t know if that moves the needle that much. Twenty percent might have drawn serious interest, but 10 percent? I don’t know.” Maybe they just need to give the promotion a catchy name — may we suggest Black Market Friday?