SALT LAKE CITY — A local law firm is filing a class action lawsuit against retail giant Target following a massive security breach during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, digital security experts have said over 40 million Target customers may have had their personal credit and debit card information compromised. Target officials confirmed PIN codes were stolen, but maintain the information was encrypted and will be useless to the thieves, according to NBC News.
Christensen Young and Associates, a law firm based in Sandy, has formed a $5 million class action lawsuit against Target on behalf of Utahns who may have been affected by the security breach. The lawsuit accuses Target of an invasion of privacy, negligence and a breach of contract.
Steven Christensen is an attorney with the firm and is encouraging the public to contact his office if they believe they may have had their information compromised.
“We have many plaintiffs whom we have spoken with,” Christensen said. “We have people calling in every day. We’re trying to put notices in the local papers and make sure everyone who has been affected to contact us.”
The information can be sold and circulated and it can take months if not years for cards to get used by thieves.
The class action suit was filed Dec. 30 in Utah Federal Court. Christensen said an undisclosed amount of people wishing to participate in the lawsuit have already come forward. The suit is calling on Target to provide funds for credit monitoring for those who may have been affected by the data breach, as well as pay for any other damages that may have accrued.
“One of the things we’re hoping for is for them to come forth and take accountability,” Christensen said. “I think Target is a very conscientious company and I hope they take more responsibility on this.”
Christensen said he is worried about what the data breach could mean for customers, not only immediately, but in the future as well.
“The long term ramifications of the data breach are not immediately known,” Christensen said. “The information can be sold and circulated and it can take months if not years for cards to get used by thieves.”
Stephanie Wright is a plaintiff in the case. She said she is concerned about what the security breach could mean for her family's future.
“My worst nightmare is that I will have something happen to my financial future that will keep me from sending my kids to college or on an (LDS) mission or doing the things I want because someone has taken that from me,” Wright said.
Target has established a hotline for people to call who are worried about their personal information. Concerned customers can call 866-852-8680 or can check their email accounts for a notice from Target sent to affected credit card holders.
Video contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba
Contributing: Mary Richards