Target data breach impacted 70 million people, company says

(WJLA) - The data breach that crippled Target stores nationwide is more widespread than originally thought, store officials say, saying Friday that upwards of 70 million people had their information stolen.

Target's ongoing investigation into the massive December data theft revealed that millions more people than originally expected were victimized by the massive theft. The company also says that some information separate from card data was taken as well.

As a frequent Target shopper, Henry Wolfe fears the possibility of being a victim of the holiday security breach.

“You don’t ever know when they’re gonna steal your identity so it’s something you have to check all the time and the thought is always in the back of your mind,” Wolfe says.{ }

The hackers may now have the names, addresses and phone numbers, not to mention credit card numbers of Target shoppers.

“If I also have your name, your address, and phone numbers, now in addition to using your card, I can become you. Now they’re more vulnerable to identity fraud and identity theft. Somebody stealing their money and somebody stealing their identity,” says Mark Rasch, cyber security expert.

The company is planning to offer a free year of identity theft protection and credit monitoring in the wake of the breach.

The latest increase in the number of victims of the theft is not part of a new beach, Target officials say. The company still has not revealed exactly how the theft took place.

"I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this," Target President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement posted to the company's website.

Target revealed on Dec. 19 that about 40 million people who shopped at their stores nationwide between Black Friday and Dec. 15 had their credit and debit card information stolen. Since then, the company has advised customers to carefully monitor their statements and bank accounds.

It was later revealed that some customers also had encrypted PIN number data taken during the massive hack.

Some customers aren't feeling too confident about shopping at the nation's second largest discount retailer.

“I was about to go use my credit card but I’m about to go to the ATM now to pull some money out because I don’t want that to happen to me,” says Theresa Cooper.

“Cash only, Target is cash only. No credit or debit,” says Saprina Robinson.