PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Target says debit card PIN numbers may have, in fact, been stolen as part of a massive theft of debit and credit card information from customers who used their cards at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
But in a statement, the nation’s second largest discount retailer said the information cannot really be used by the thieves.
“We remain confident that PIN numbers are safe and secure,” said Molly Snyder, a Target spokesperson. “The PIN information was fully encrypted at the keypad, remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems.”
But one local bank servicing the North Hills and Butler-Armstrong area has decided to go a step further.
NexTier Bank may not be one of this region’s largest banks, but it is taking the lead in combating the fraud, the credit card-debit card fraud at Target.
How? By replacing its customers’ debit cards.
“Whenever the public hears the word breach or compromise, the public is concerned,” Maria Smathers, senior vice president of marketing & retail delivery told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday. “They’re concerned about their personal information. They’re concerned about their money. “They’re concerned about identify theft.”
Smathers says NexTier Bank is closing down old debit cards for selected bank customers who used them at Target — and replacing them with new cards.
NexTier says it wants to “give our customers some level of comfort that their card has been replaced — they have no risk at all.”
“In order to address our customers’ concerns, we took a little bit of a conservative approach, saying we are going to replace these cards,” said Smathers.
Smathers says the bank was alerted on Monday which Target customers had card information stolen — at that point they called or emailed those customers, saying the bank would keep the cards open through the holidays but then replace them.
“I think our customers have responded very positively to the way we’ve chosen to approach this, which is we’ll leave your card open temporarily, we’re going to monitor it, but for your safety and protection, we’re going to close it as of Jan. 3,” said Smathers.
The area’s largest banks — PNC and Citizens — have similar lists of Target customers, but both tell KDKA they are not replacing the debit or credit cards of their Target customers.
In a statement, PNC spokesperson Marcey Zwiebel said, “We have suggested to customers that it is not necessary to cancel their cards unless we alert them to suspicious card activity, or they themselves see unauthorized charges to their accounts.”
In their statement, Citizens spokesperson Lauren DiGeronimo noted, “We are monitoring for unusual activity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As is our standard procedure, customers have no liability for fraudulent charges.”
NexTier is only replacing debit cards whose pins would have been used at Target.
Security experts say for Target customers keeping their cards — no matter the bank — it’s a smart idea to change the pin — right now.