MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) -- As an apology for the a security breach which Target says affected 40 million credit and debit card accounts, the stores are now offering 10 percent off total purchases and free credit reports.
In a statement released by Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, he says the 10% discount will last from Saturday, Dec. 21 to Sunday, Dec. 22.
All shoppers are also entitled to a free credit report, directly, from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies.
Steinhafel also reassured those who may have been affected.
"We want to reassure guests that they will not be held financially responsible for any credit and debit card fraud," said Steinhafel.
Shoppers affected will also get free fraud monitoring services.
Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by the data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear.
The chain said that accounts of customers who made purchases using their cards at its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have been 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.
Steinhafel said in the statement released Friday, "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."
The Minneapolis company said it immediately told authorities and financial institutions once it became aware of the breach and that it is teaming with a third-party forensics firm to investigate the matter and prevent future breaches. It. said it is putting all "appropriate resources" toward the issue.
Target Corp. advised customers to check their statements carefully. Those who suspect there has been unauthorized activity on their 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.
Target didn't say exactly how the data breach occurred, but said it had since fixed the problem and that credit card holders can continue shopping at its stores.
Target is just the latest retailer to be hit with a data breach problem. TJX Cos., which runs stores such as T.J. 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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