MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As consumers continue to absorb the news that the Target data breach affected far more people than the chain originally announced, the company is offering a year of free credit monitoring to customers.
Target initially said 40 million credit card accounts were compromised, but now says the figure is closer to 110 million.
Target’s stock was down again Monday, and the retailer announced last week that fourth quarter sales, which included the big holiday shopping season, were down two percent.
More than three weeks after the first news of the breach, CEO Greg Steinhafel sat down with a reporter on CNBC Monday.
“We are not going to rest until we understand what happened and how that happened,” Steinhafel said. “Clearly, we’re accountable and we’re responsible, but we’re going to come out at the end of this a better company.”
The interview drew a mixed review from Jon Austin, a public relations executive and owner of J Austin & Associates.
“Technically it was a very good performance,” Austin said. “The question is why did it take three, four weeks for it to be delivered?”
He says that had Steinhafel spoken out in the beginning, it would have helped cushion the later news that the breach was much larger.
“That sort of communication, that sort of credibility over time of an event actually can help the company get through,” he said.
Two days after the breach was first announced, Target offered 10-percent off all sales. This time, Target is offering free credit monitoring for a year.
Customers will need to sign up on their website and provide personal information, including a social security number and an email address.
Some consumers, like Stephanie Christensen, are skeptical.
“I guess I’d take them up on it if it’s free. Though giving them my information is kind of, you know, they weren’t so careful with it last time,” Christensen said.
But others, like Annie Bartholomew, continue to give Target high marks.
“I did get an email from Target saying, you know, be prepared. We are going to cover you and take care of you an all that kind of stuff. So I’m not worried,” Bartholomew said.
Neiman Marcus recently revealed that they too suffered a security breach during the holiday season, but they have not yet released the number of accounts that may have been compromised.