Cayman shoppers hit in Target data theft

Caymanians who did their Christmas shopping at Target department stores in the United States are among those impacted by a massive data breach at the store. 

Around 40 million customers were originally estimated to have had their credit and debit card details stolen by hackers in one of the largest retail data thefts of all time. 

Earlier this month Target said as many as 70 million further customers whose data was held on file could also have been affected. 

A spokesman for The Bank of Butterfield said any Cayman customers who used their card at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 last year could have been impacted. 

He declined to say how many of the bank’s customers were affected but said the figure was relatively small and all had now been issued new credit or debit cards. 

Cayman National Bank declined to comment. 

One Butterfield bank customer told the Caymanian Compass that she discovered her card details had been stolen when she saw it had been used to buy groceries and a Burger King meal in Turkey.  

When she called the bank, she was told her card had been canceled and a replacement had already been issued. 

According to news reports in the U.S., cyber criminals appear to have focused on the point-of-sale systems in Target’s retail stores, which collect information from customers’ credit and debit cards. The company’s website is not said to have been affected. 

In an email to customers, Target CEO Greg Steinhafel said the company “deeply regrets” the inconvenience caused.  

He said customers would not be responsible for fraudulent charges, with either Target or the customers’ bank picking up the tab. 

“We understand that a situation like this creates stress and anxiety about the safety of your payment card data at Target. Our brand has been built on a 50-year foundation of trust with our guests, and we want to assure you that the cause of this issue has been addressed and you can shop with confidence at Target,” he wrote. 

Mike McWatt, president of the Cayman Islands Bankers Association, said any customers who suspect their credit or debit card details have been stolen should contact their bank. 

He added, “Customers are not typically liable for fraudulent transactions provided they advise their banks of the discrepancy in a timely manner when they suspect fraudulent activity.” 

Bank of Butterfield’s spokesman said it had immediately increased fraud monitoring in the wake of the breach and remained vigilant for irregular activity. 

He added, “Among the estimated 40 million card transactions conducted at Target during this period, there were a relatively small number of transactions involving Butterfield-issued cards. Any credit or debit card issued by a local Cayman Islands bank used at Target during this period could have been potentially impacted.” 

Target Store - photo by Ken Wolter 

Target has reported that hackers have stolen credit and debit card data of its customers.