Banks deal with Target breach

A significant number of customers of a local bank are receiving new debit cards as a result of the pre-Christmas data breach involving Target Corp.

According to Target, hackers stole data related to 40 million credit and debit card accounts and also pilfered personal information, including email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses and names of as many as 70 million customers.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company has sent emails to the 70 million people offering free credit monitoring for a year. And while Target believes the theft of the roughly 40 million debit and credit card numbers only affected cards swiped between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, the 70 million people whose personal information was stolen could have last shopped at a Target store months, or even years, ago.

It has been reported that Neiman Marcus and three other unidentified retailers also were hit in the data theft.

Many Reliance Bank customers have been affected, said Denny Doll, bank president.

“As far as fraud, we haven’t seen any fraudulent activity. We had 800 customers that were affected in Blair and Centre counties,” Doll said. “We had to issue new debit cards to them and tell them to monitor their account activity. Those people were identified by us or Visa that they had activity during the time frame between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.”

Doll doesn’t believe the number is unusual.

“It would not be unusual; they are such a high traffic retail store,” Doll said of the local store in Sierra North Plaza. “We had an incident with TJ Maxx a few years ago and had similar numbers but over a longer period of time.”

Credit card data from 90 million TJX customers were stolen in 2007.

Doll said the bank would not be able to recoup its expenses related to the Target breach.

“The time and man hours to produce the new plastic, we will not recoup that. That is an expense we will bear,” Doll said. “The clients will get their money back if there was fraud. The clients are protected by Visa and us.”

“It’s not uncommon for us to reissue cards to our customers when Visa notifies us of a major breach – and we’re in the process of doing so now – as are many banks,” said Philip Hosmer, M&T Bank spokesman. “We don’t release information about the number of cards we are reissuing.”

First National Bank of Pennsylvania has strong fraud detection systems in place, said Sam Kirsch, senior vice president and director of electronic delivery.

“We consistently monitor customer accounts and transaction activity, and we will take proactive steps to block and reissue a customer’s card in the event that fraud is detected as a result of the Target security breach,” Kirsch said. “Customers should contact us immediately if they suspect any unauthorized use of their accounts.”

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said Tuesday that the bank is replacing 2 million credit and debit cards as a result of the breach.

Mirror staff writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467. The Associated Press contributed to this story.