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Target breach highlights why consumers must be careful

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Shoppers were still spending at Target on Thursday, but clearly concerned about a wide-spread security breach.

"Anybody can get ahold of your number or card and just charge up a whole bunch of stuff," said shopper Marsha Sousa at the Target near Triangle Town Center.

Target said Thursday that data connected to 40 million credit and debit cards was stolen as part of a breach that began Thanksgiving weekend. Target is not releasing how the thieves gained access to the card' magnetic strips to potentially produce counterfeit versions.

Target says 40 million accounts may be breached

One shopper in North Raleigh, Laura Williams, said she may be a victim. She said she found out someone made a duplicate copy of her credit card and tried to use it at a Wal-Mart in Texas. Williams said she shopped at Target when accounts were compromised between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

State Attorney General Roy Cooper said the breach at Target is a call to be careful, and a reminder that consumers should constantly monitor information.

"Your information may be out there and you not even know it, maybe a data breach that a company doesn't even know about, or someone may have even gone into your trash can and stolen information to commit identity theft."

To be careful, check your credit report, monitor all charges on your credit and debit cards and sign up for a fraud alert with credit agencies.

You can even get a security freeze to prevent anyone from obtaining credit with your name.

But even with high-tech thieves, Cooper said swiping your credit card is a safe option.

"Credit cards are the best way to protect yourself, because if someone steals your card or gets your card number and uses it, as long as you report it back to the credit card company, in most cases the consumer is not going to be responsible," Cooper said.

Shoppers are already heeding the warnings.

Target shopper Leslie Holland said she checked her credit card report this morning "and it looks fine."

Another shopper, Brian Bagby, said he had not checked his statements yet, but added, "Thanks for reminding me."

Melanie Sanders

Melanie anchors the 6 PM news. Her "What's Next" series features an engaging approach to storytelling and highlights the leaders in innovation who are shaping our future. Check it out HERE! More>>

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