MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It was this time last year when we first learned about a data breach at Target stores nationwide.

Target said hackers stole the personal data of 70 million customers, along with credit and debit card numbers from 40 million shoppers.

But one year later, there have been no arrests in the case and experts warn that stores and shoppers are still vulnerable.

In the past year, Target had done everything from firing its CEO to speeding up a planned 2015 roll-out of a safer chip style technology at its stores.

But the retailer warned in a statement that “the world of advanced cybercrime represents a constantly evolving threat.”

That admission is the new retail reality.

University of St. Thomas marketing professor Jon Seltzer said whatever steps retailers take, sophisticated cyber thief networks will no doubt evolve.

“I can almost guarantee that it will happen again,” Seltzer said. “As merchants develop one system, criminals will develop a second system to thwart that.”

The Target security breach, as well as other massive breaches in stores ranging from Michaels to Home Depot, are widely believed to have been orchestrated by networks operating in Eastern Europe or Russia–out of the reach of U.S. law enforcement.

Experts warn that every American who uses credit cards will one day be a victim of some type of identity theft.

Eden Prairie mom Amy Holt had her information stolen a year before the breach and continues to take precautions.

“It’s a big concern,” she said. “I have had my credit scores checked multiple times, and I had my credit cards changed last year in response.”

In addition to monitoring your accounts and credit reports, experts recommend using a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping.

Debit cards provide direct access to your checking account and most financial institutions provide less protection for checking account losses.

Esme Murphy

Comments