One of the more widely reported stories over the 2013 holiday season concerned the massive data theft from the retail chain Target, a situation that more than likely served to put a damper on festivities for millions of people.
To recap, Target initially announced last month that 40 million customers across the nation had their encrypted financial information — credit card/debit card numbers, card expiration dates, embedded codes on the backs of cards, etc. — stolen from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.
However, just last week, the retail giant indicated that these figures were off and that a new investigation had revealed that another 70 million people were affected by the data breach. Worse yet, this investigation revealed that these people might have had their personal information stolen as well, including their names, phone numbers and email addresses.
As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, recent reports indicate that this data breach may now be affecting the recipients of Social Security benefits.
In general, those people who qualify for Social Security benefits are now issued a debit card, which can be used for everything from withdrawing cash from an ATM and buying groceries to paying bills online.
Unfortunately, sources are indicating that those Social Security recipients who used their debit cards at Target during the timeframe of the data breach might be getting a call from Comerica, the bank in charge of the accounts, informing them that a new card is being issued and mailed.
“We are issuing cards in conjunction with communications with affected cardholders so they are aware of the options for accessing their funds,” read a released statement from the bank. “Comerica is very focused on insuring that cardholders are both protected and have adequate access to their funds.”
While Comerica has indicated that only a small percentage of the debit cards were compromised, this is likely of little comfort to those Social Security recipients whose accounts might be frozen during the 7 to 10 days it takes to receive the new card in the mail. They rely on these benefits to help make ends meet and any delay could cause significant hardship.
Here’s hoping that this situation is sorted out sooner than later …
If you believe that you have been wrongly denied SSD benefits or would like to learn more about SSI benefits, consider speaking with an experienced attorney dedicated to securing the assistance you need and deserve.
Source: NWCN, “Target breach extends to Social Security debit card holders,” Meg Coyle, Jan. 14, 2014; WFMY, “Target says data stolen from 110 million customers,” Jan. 13, 2014