Retailers Report New Data Breaches: What You Need to Know

The luxury department store joins Target and three other retailers in investigating security breaches.

Neiman Marcus is the latest retail chain to disclose a breach of customer credit card information.
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The holiday season is over, but it seems like shoppers will never get a reason to relax. In addition to Target's mid-December revelation that information on up to 40 million shoppers (a figure that was later revised to up to 110 million) had been compromised, new reports came to light over the weekend that more retailers had been breached. Below is a roundup of answers to questions you may be asking about the safety of your credit card data.

What do I have to be worried about now? Neiman Marcus reported late Friday that it was the victim of a security breach in which customers' payment data was accessed. Meanwhile, Reuters reported Sunday that three smaller retailers had experienced holiday season breaches similar to Target's. Sources didn't elaborate on which specific retailers were affected but did say those companies' stores can be found in U.S. malls.

 

How bad is it? The Target breach still appears to be the worst of the bunch. Credit and debit card information on 40 million shoppers was accessed between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, Target initially reported, and the store also reported on Jan. 10 that names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses on up to 70 million shoppers – separate from those initial 40 million – was also compromised in the security breach.

[READ: Sen. Patrick Leahy Introduces Data Privacy Bill in Wake of Target Breach]

Neiman Marcus' breach, meanwhile, affects fewer than one million credit cards, the Wall Street Journal reports. As for the three unnamed retailers, there is not yet information on size and scope.

So who has my card number? In all of the cases, details are sketchy. Target has said malicious software was to blame, but CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a Jan. 13 interview with CNBC that he has "no idea who did it." Likewise, Neiman Marcus has given no information on who might have been responsible.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Eastern European hackers are suspected in the case of the three smaller retailers. Right now, it is uncertain whether these three incidents are connected to those at Target or Neiman Marcus.

What's with the wave of security problems? Unsettlingly enough, security breaches of this sort are pretty common, the Journal reports; smaller episodes like Neiman Marcus' have just gained prominence in the wake of Target's issues.

[RECAP: Target Faces Credit Card Data Breach]

So what do I do now? Retailers are embarrassed and contrite over the breaches, and are doing what they can to make sure customers feel safe. Target is offering free credit monitoring to any guest that wants it, Steinhafel told CNBC, adding that customers will not be held responsible for any unauthorized purchases.

"Zero liability is zero liability," he said. "The guest has no liability whatsoever."

Likewise, Neiman Marcus told the Journal that its customers will not be responsible for unauthorized purchases.

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