Some Target gift cards are not working
because they weren't activated properly, according to the retail giant.
The news comes just weeks after Target, the nation's second-largest discount retailer, suffered a substantial security breach in which hackers gained access to data connected to upwards of 40 million credit and debit cards
used at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
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"We are aware that some Target gift cards were not fully activated and apologize for the inconvenience," company spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.
In light of the inactivation problems with gift cards sold over the holiday season, Target has instructed customers to take the faulty gift cards to customer service desks in the store or call the service hotline at 800-544-2943.
In an email to NBC News
, Snyder said all gifts cards will be honored and a receipt is not necessary. According to Snyder, less than 0.1 percent of the cards sold during the holiday period were affected.
"It's another black eye that makes you question the internal operating procedures of Target," Brian Sozzi, CEO and chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors, told the AP. "Target needs to be doing everything perfectly. It can't afford to lose any more confidence among its guests."
On Friday, a senior payments executive familiar with the situation told reporters that the debit-card encrypted personal identification numbers of Target customers
were among the financial data stolen in last year’s security breach.
Snyder disputed the claim.
"We continue to have no reason to believe that PIN data, whether encrypted or unencrypted, was compromised. And we have not been made aware of any such issue in communications with financial institutions to date," Snyder said by email. "We are very early in an ongoing forensic and criminal investigation."
In addition to the encrypted PINs, customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the embedded code on the magnetic strip on back of the cards were stolen, the AP noted.
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As a result of the security breach, one Target customer, California resident Jennifer Kirk, has sued the retail giant alleging that her stolen data may allow for the counterfeiting of credit cards
and could reveal customers' personal codes for debit cards.
The Secret Service and the Justice Department are working with Target as part of an investigation into the security breach; however both agencies have declined to comment on the matter as of yet.
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