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The data breach did not affect online purchases, the company said.

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Target admits credit card data breach

The incident is particularly troublesome for Target because it has used its branded credit and debit cards as a marketing tool to lure shoppers with a 5 percent discount.

"This is how Target is getting more customers in the stores," said Brian Sozzi, CEO and Chief Equities Strategist. "It's telling people to use the card. It's been a big win. If they lose that trust, that person goes to Wal Mart."

Many displeased Target customers left angry comments on the company's Facebook page. Some threatened to stop shopping at the store. Many customers complained they couldn't get through to the call center and couldn't get on Target's branded credit card website. Target apologized on its Facebook page and said it is "working hard" to resolve the issue and is adding more workers to field the calls and help solve Vans For Kids 2017

"The fact this breach can happen with all of their security in place is really alarming," said Avivah Litan, a security analyst with Gartner Research.

The stolen information included Target store brand cards and major card brands such as Visa and MasterCard. 15. The company is teaming with a third party forensics firm to investigate and prevent future breaches.

for toys at the retailer.

"Target's first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause," Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement Thursday.

tied to a purchase he made at Target with his Visa card on Black Friday. However, he called Visa Thursday and the card issuer couldn't confirm. He says he hasn't been able to get through Target's call center.

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The company said during its earnings call in November that as of October some 20 percent of store customers have the Target branded cards. In fact, households that activate a Target branded card have increased their spending at the store by about 50 percent on average, the company said.

The breach is the latest in a series of technology crises for Target. The company faced tough criticism in late 2011 after it drummed up hype around its offerings from Italian designer Missoni only to see its website crash. The site was down most of the day the designer's collection launched. The company angered customers further with numerous online delays for products and even order cancellations.

Target hasn't disclosed exactly how the data breach occurred, but said it has fixed the problem and credit card holders can continue shopping at its stores.

On Monday, Browning received a call from his bank's anti fraud unit saying that there were two attempts to use his credit card in California one at a casino in Tracey, Calif. for $8,000 and the other at a casino in Pacheco, for $3,000. Both occurred on Sunday and both were denied. He canceled his credit card and plans to use cash. Although Browning has no proof, he says he believes the fraud was tied to his Black Friday purchase at Target.

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Litan noted that companies like Target spend millions of dollars each year on credit card security measures. Given the company's Vans Leather White heavy security, Litan said she believes the theft may have been an inside job.

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Target advised customers on Thursday to check their statements carefully. Those who see suspicious charges on the cards should report it to their credit card companies and call Target at 866 852 8680. Cases of identity theft can also be reported to law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission.

website issues.

Even if Target shoppers haven't noticed suspicious activity on their credit card accounts, a Target spokeswoman said, "we encourage everyone to be vigilant."

"I won't shop at Target again until the people behind this theft are caught or the reasons for the breach are identified and fixed," said Browning.

She said the situation made her "a little bit" nervous but was still planning to shop Vans Pink And White

"A data breach is of itself a huge reputational issue," said Jeremy Robinson Leon, a principal at Group Gordon, a corporate and crisis public relations firm. He noted that Target needs to send the message that it's rectifying the problem and working with customers to answer questions. He believes Target should have acknowledged the problem on Wednesday rather than waiting until early Thursday.

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Christopher Browning, 23 of Chesterfield, Va., said was the victim of credit card fraud earlier this week and he believes it was Mbt Fora

Brianna Byrnes, 22, of Kansas City, Mo., a student at the University of Missouri Kansas City and a call center worker, said she made a Target purchase during the affected period.

The nation's second largest discounter said Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend. after retailer TJX Cos. announced in 2007 that at least 45.7 million credit and debit card users were exposed to credit card fraud. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

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But the credit card breach poses an even more serious problem for Target and threatens to scare away shoppers who worry about the safety of their personal data.

In Wednesday morning's trading, Target's stock dipped $1.15, or 1.8 percent, to $62.40.

"I've never had anyone steal my identity. I guess it's taking a risk."

"This is close to the worst time to have it happen," Robinson Leon said. "If I am a Target customer, I think I would be much more likely to go to a competitor over the next few days, rather than risk the potential to have my information be compromised."

Target is just the latest retailer to be hit with a data breach. Maxx and Marshall's, had a breach that began in July 2005 that exposed at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards to possible fraud. The breach wasn't detected until December 2006. In June 2009 TJX agreed to pay $9.75 million in a settlement with multiple states related to the massive data theft but stressed at the time that it firmly believed it did not violate any consumer protection or data security laws.

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