Target is recommending its customers, including those in Texas, pay close attention to their credit and debit card statements. The company says personal information on some 40 million card users may have been collected at its stores over the past month.
But this news didn’t discourage North Texans from shopping.
At Dallas’ West Village, last minute shoppers were busy visiting quaint boutiques while holiday music filled the air. Carrollton resident Leah Montez said she was aware of the data breach, but it didn’t deter her from spending.
"Never worry about it"
“I just never worry about it,” Montez said. “I think we have insurance for identity theft, and I think I’m pretty trusting, so I haven’t been really concerned.”
Erica Holloway was trying to buy a gift for her brother. To protect her data, she said she avoids using credit cards, and prefers her debit card.
“Usually I try to use my pin number,” Holloway said. “So if someone goes and steals my card, just running it as credit-- that should alert that those are fraudulent because I usually use my pin number.”
Meredith Patterson and Trista Moldovan were also shopping at West Village. Both were alarmed to learn about the security breach at Target, but they weren’t about to start carrying cash.
"Who has time to use cash anymore?"
“Who has time to use cash anymore?” Patterson said. “You don’t want to be carrying around thousands of dollars of cash. But it, it is kind of scary the whole security of it all.”
Moldovan suggested doing away with credit cards, and focusing on fingerprint technology for future purchases.
“They should somehow figure that out so we can pay for stuff with just putting our finger print down,” she said. “It’s getting to that point where people are so savvy in stealing your identity that it’s scary.”
Crooks can steal personal data using what’s known as skimmers, or card readers. But police reports indicate thieves can now get information simply using cellular signals.
Lt. James Perez works in the Special Services Division of the Fairfield, Connecticut Police Department. As a consultant with the non-profit National Crime Prevention Council, he understands the technology used by scammers is more sophisticated.
“A lot of credit cards they will have a volume signal in the back, which indicates that they have an RF ID chip in it, or a radio frequency identification chip in it, it’s either passive or on standby, and when it comes close to a card reader, it will automatically send that information, and then they can make a duplicate credit card.”
Credit card fraud losses are in the billions annually. Data for gift card fraud is harder to track, but Perez reminds consumers to buy only gift cards that haven’t been tampered with, or sold from un-authorized merchants.