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Data breaches affect credit card debt

When you decided to apply for a credit card, you probably imagined that it would help you out. What you probably didn't count on was the possibility that your credit card might be used by others to help them out while hurting you. Most Wisconsin residents have probably heard about the data breach that occurred at Target just before Christmas. What some people might not realize is the credit card breach is much larger than previously stated.

When the news of the Target data breach came to light, it was estimated that around 40 million customers were affected. The latest estimate has nearly tripled that number to a whopping 110 million customers. However, that isn't the only data breach for customers to worry about. Some customers who shopped at Neiman Marcus just before the holiday have also been affected by a data breach.

In both data breach situations, it appears as though the affected customers were ones who shopped at the retail locations of the companies. After the breaches, fraud industry experts say they saw an increase in the stolen card market. It is reported that some batches of cards were selling for $20 to upwards of $100 per card for high-value cards.

These data breaches are a stark reminder to customers who use credit cards to keep a close eye on credit card statements. For people who are trying to keep credit card debt under control, fraudulent charges as a result of these breaches can be the start of financial difficulty if the charges aren't caught and reported. If you are having trouble paying for your minimum credit card payments, consulting with a Wisconsin attorney may help you learn about ways you might be able to get relief from your overwhelming debt.

Source: CNET, "More retailers reportedly victims of holiday data breaches" Steven Musil, Jan. 12, 2014

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