Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hackers Are Certainly on "Target"


Our Target has more of those stone balls outside.

          Recently, during a Linkedin conversation, the topic of Target came up.  I commented that I don't shop there any longer following an incident that happened there about two years ago.  Now, I notice that employees and executives at Target are reading my profile on Linkedin.   Sometimes,on the internet,  it's still surprising that some comments simply float into cyberspace, and that others are heard and receive reactions of some kind.

                 The Linkedin format only allows me a limited number of letters and spaces, so in all fairness to Target, and to myself, this is what happened in clearer and more detailed form.

                  Two years ago, I took my teen son  J. to Target.  He had asked to go to look for a particular video.  They didn't have it, but he found instead a DVD he would like to have bought instead.  I looked around, but didn't buy anything else that day.  When we went to the checkout and the DVD was scanned, the red clad young woman asked to see my driver's license.  I asked her why, and she told me that it was policy that to buy certain DVDs, they needed to make sure that I was over 17.   I laughed, because although I could pass for my early forties, there is no way that anyone would think I am any younger, and I don't care who is doing the make-up !   So, I opened my wallet.   She said,  "I need you to take it (the license) out".  So, I struggled for a moment removing the license from the windowed compartment in my then new, and stiff wallet. Then she quickly scanned it !  BEEP    "What did you do ?", I asked.   "I entered it in the system" she said.  "This is what we are required to do. It's policy ", she said knowingly.   "Cancel the transaction"  I said.   "I can't"  she said.  "Get your supervisor", I said.   I told the supervisor that due to security clearances for my husband's job, we make an effort to have tangible data, such as driver's license etc. kept off databases as a safeguard against identity theft.  Identity theft by the wrong person could endanger his job or at least some of his projects.  I also told her that I gave permission for their cashier to glance at my license to ascertain that I am not younger than 17 (which is ridiculous anyway)  I had absolutely not granted permission for my private data to be instantly entered into a Target database.  I told them I considered this an avenue for potential identity theft, and that they had stolen my private data without permission.   The manager came, and aided them in the cancellation of the transaction, and of the dumping of the associated data from their system.  We were lucky that morning that there were few people checking out and no one behind me.  My son was embarrassed that a simple purchase of a DVD had become "a big deal".  Needless to say, we had cancelled the purchase and he did not get the DVD.   I told him that we would purchase it later that day, on and we did.  The Target staff did not apologize and they acted as if I had been difficult.

           Of course,  most of you know now that thieves hacked Target's database during the holiday season. Target admits that encrypted pin data was stolen from them for 40 million debit and credit cards which were entered into their system at that time.  Target admits that you should watch your statements for unusual activity in your accounts if you shopped with them between November 27, 2013 and December 15, 2013.  The breach has since been contained.

           A word to the wise, change your password.    In addition, consider changing your debit or credit card pin regularly anyway, particularly if you make internet purchases.

           Think before you blindly hard your data to any corporation.  Employees come and go. Who knows what access they have to credit card, driver's license or any other data. Who knows how they might use it ?
Even the grocery store discount cards show my address as a post office box I use for business, fifty miles from my home.

This is objective data regarding the Target Stores Data breaches:

          In Linkedin, I indicated that since the incident at Target, we had never shopped there again.   My exact words were that it wasn't the Jetsonian decor or the drab olives and browns in the housewares and clothing departments that prevents us from shopping there.  We used to shop quite a bit at Target.  It was the clear disregard for our personal information that left a bad taste in my mouth.  I wasn't being difficult that day.  By "policy", they snatched personal data on me without my permission simply because we planned to buy a tasteless teen DVD.    Aren't you glad Target doesn't sell ammunition ?


Lady Locust said...

Good advise. I don't even like the grocery store having minimal data. We don't have a Target, but it could be any number of 'superstores.' I don't think it really matters - they all get (or try to get) our personal information.
Keep well.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

If they want to see difficult, they need to deal with me. I wouldn't have gone as far as you; I NEVER would have taken my VDL out of my wallet much less let the clerk get her sticky fingers on it. As to the store not being busy...don't that point in time, I am the MOST important customer they have, especially when they stolen my information. I think I've bought one thing at Target and been in the store three times. No love wasted between us.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank you Lady Locust,
They all do try to get as much information about customers as possible. I keep setting limits at Home Depot.
One of the things which helps me, is that I am so far out in the country, that we must drive a great distance to get to any of these places. I don't see any of them very often.

JaneofVirginia said...

And of course, you are right. I should have refused when they needed my DL. If I am paying cash, they shouldn't need to see anything else.

BBC said...

No Target store even close to me so I haven't been in one for years. On christmas eve I got a motel room and they scanned my DL and attached a copy of it to my room information but that didn't really concern me, it isn't a big chain motel. I assume they just want the info in case I wreck the room.

JaneofVirginia said...

Motels have been xeroxing driver's licenses for years, and I suppose scanning is another way of proving who was where when a room was wrecked or a TV disappears. However, I would tell them you are concerned about identity theft and ask them how long they retain such information.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing this. Walmart scans our drivers license when we return without a receipt :/ Not going to do that anymore. I do like Target but didn't shop there this holiday season, THANK GOODNESS!
I have had my information hacked off my computer before. It was a major ordeal getting things sent back and cancelled. The people that used my card number joined a bunch of porn sites, book clubs, and Netflix. The reason I knew I was hacked was from a bunch of DVD's being delivered to my house :/

JaneofVirginia said...

Kelly, Thanks for posting and letting us know this. In the past, I have given Wal-Mart my address and phone when I return something, rather than the DL, so I know it's possible. (Just tell them you don't have your DL with you.) It really is tough to avoid identity theft at all turns.

jambaloney said...

that is crazy!!!!

i have never heard of such a thing up here and you didn't even get asked before you were scanned!!! good for you to claw it back!

amazing how much "entitlement" big companies think they have!

hope you are doing well jane!

JaneofVirginia said...

We are all okay, and I hope you both are doing well despite the intermittent snow assaults of the season ! The Target incident is like a page out of Orwell's "1984". Love to you both,

Kristin said...

I can't stand Target- and to think I used to love it. What a freaky story!

I have no desire to be spied on and profiled, and let's face it, they sell overpriced, inferior merchandise. Oh, and I disagree with their politics. I gave a $5 gift certificate away this month rather than shop there.

JaneofVirginia said...

Kristin, Isn't it sad ? Target went from being a calm and clean store with good housewares and great generic pharmacy items to a store for "Slacker Supplies". Odd color schemes, second rate designers, weird clothing that doesn't cover anything even for the slim, and big brother tactics at checkout.
They no longer reduce things and place them at the end of the aisle as they once did. In their defense I hear they now donate these items to Goodwill. However, Goodwill is no longer as cheap as they once were. Many of these donated items to Goodwill are selling for retail.
Thanks for posting, Kristin.