Consumer Fraud

Target data breach leaves TCF and other credit unions, banks pushing to replace customer cards

Target 435x309 Target data breach leaves TCF and other credit unions, banks pushing to replace customer cardsTCF Financial Corp. has announced that as a result from the recent holiday Target data breach, they will be issuing new debit cards to consumers whose private information was compromised. The largest Minnesota bank to choose the “replace-them-all” method, TCF joins banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and various Minnesota credit unions by moving quickly to replace approximately 2 million cards of those affected.

A TCF spokesman confirmed that the bank is currently in the process of notifying affected Target customers by letters and e-mails to expect a new card shortly. Although the company has chosen not to release how many cards they will be reissuing, TCF has confirmed that most are debit cards.

TCF has also emphasized that it will not deactivate existing cards until consumers successfully receive a new card and activate it. Spokesman Mark Goldman said, “Once the new card is activated, their old card is immediately voided.”

Tom Jasper, TCF Vice Chairman, added that customers will be given the option whether they would like to change their personal information number (PIN), also saying that it was in the “mutual best interest” of the bank and its customers to reissue cards.

“We’re willing to incur the full cost of replacing cards because it gives our customers greater confidence that their financial information is secure, and they won’t be victims of fraud related to the Target breach,” Jasper said.

Taking place between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, the 19-day security breach gave thieves access to private credit and debit information of 40 million different accounts at U.S. Target stores. A forensics firm is currently working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Secret Service to properly investigate the cybertheft and bring those responsible to justice.

The attack on Target systems has not only been a nightmare for Target Corp., but for all the banks, credit unions and financial institutions involved.

“The massive amount of ­customer service work by banks that goes into managing these merchant breaches … we can’t recover that,” Jasper said.

The first lawsuit has been filed by the Alabama State Employees Credit Union, a small credit union in Alabama, against Target due to the breach of information, detailing that the nation’s No. 2 discount retailer failed to protect its customer’s personal information and burdened the credit union with the extravagant costs of closing accounts and reissuing cards.

Currently seeking class-action status on behalf of all financial institutions, the lawsuit reads, “Plaintiff and class members were required to expend time, energy and expense to address and resolve these financial disruptions and mitigate the ­consequences.”

Although the lawsuit does not include a specific dollar amount attributed to the credit union’s losses, Dee Miles, the credit union’s lawyer from Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery, Ala., has found that the actual costs are “growing every day.”

“The real question is will all the banks and other financial institutions allow a credit union to stand in their shoes for them as a class representative?” Miles said.

Key banking industry groups, such as TCF and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were unavailable to comment on the growing lawsuit against Target.

Beasley Allen Law Firm