PNC replacing credit cards used during Target breach

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Some four months after the massive data breach at Target, PNC Bank is in the process of canceling all of its credit cards used at the discount retailer during the cyber break-in.

Pittsburgh's biggest bank sent letters this week to affected customers telling them to expect a new card in seven to 10 days.

"We are replacing them for all customers who used cards [at Target] during that time, not just those who may have had an issue," spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said Friday.

PNC was not disclosing how many cardholders were affected, she said.

Customers should immediately activate their new cards and destroy the old ones, Ms. Zwiebel said. People who do not activate the new cards will find their old ones automatically deactivated April 30.

The breach at Target, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, compromised card accounts and personal contact information for tens of millions of shoppers.

Ms. Zwiebel said PNC's decision to replace the cards was not made in response to any recent spike in fraudulent transactions.

"We just made the decision to go ahead and do it," she said. "We still believe most of our customers were not affected by the breach, but want to continue to do all we can to ensure our cards are as safe as they can be."

Since the Target breach, PNC has been replacing cards on an individual basis for customers who have identified suspicious transactions on their accounts, Ms. Zwiebel said.

She said this week's action did not cover PNC debit cards.

"Unless there has been suspicious activity, we believe customers should feel safe and secure using their existing debit card," she said.

PNC's credit cards are part of the Visa network, which provides cardholders with zero-liability coverage for fraudulent transactions.

Customers with questions may contact PNC at 1-800-762-2265. Customers also can check online at for updates.

Experts have recommended that anyone who used a credit or debit card to make purchases at Target during the breach closely monitor their accounts and quickly report any suspicious activity.

Early last month, Pittsburgh-based Dollar Bank abruptly canceled an undisclosed number of its credit cards without notifying customers before the cards stopped working. Some customers said they discovered they had been cut off after trying to use their cards and having the transactions denied.

Dollar has said it had detected a dramatic increase in fraudulent transactions and wanted to move quickly to stem losses.

"Ideally, we would have gotten an email out prior to [canceling the cards] but we were working quickly to stop the additional fraud," a spokeswoman said at the time.

Patricia Sabatini: or 412-263-3066.

Patricia Sabatini: or 412-263-3066. First Published March 21, 2014 11:12 AM

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