Target Corp. said the Department of Justice is investigating the theft of data connected to 40 million credit and debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, the Associated Press reports. Security experts say it’s the second-largest theft of card accounts in U.S. history, surpassed only by a scam that began in 2005 involving retailer TJX Cos. that affected 45.7 million card users.
Target said that it is working with the U.S. Secret Service in the retailer’s own investigation and that its general counsel held a conference call with state attorneys general to bring them up to date on the breach. More than a dozen Target customers have filed federal lawsuits, with some accusing the company of negligence in failing to protect customer data. As an example of one person affected, AP quoted an Alabama man who said his debit card number was stolen after he used it at Target the day after Thanksgiving. The card was denied when his wife tried to use it Thursday at a grocery store.