Nightly News   |  December 20, 2013

Angry Target customers take to social media

Target has apologized for the data breach that compromised the credit and debit cards of as many as 40 million Americans – but even loyal Target shoppers say they’re frightened, and many are already discovering suspicious charges. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> now to the late word from retail giant target after a massive data breach that exposed up to 40 million customers to identity theft . tonight the first lawsuit has been filed. target's ceo is apologizing and the company is in full damage control mode. assuring shoppers they won't be held responsible for any fraud. working to woo back customers who are understandably on edge. we get our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk.

>> reporter: tonight target is offering a 10% discount to customers. but it may not be enough for angry, frustrated shoppers who aren't mincing words on the retailer's facebook page. one writes, thanks for failing us, target. others say they can't get through on the phone to cancel their target issued credit card known as red cards . this is about the worst customer service i have ever seen. completely ridiculous. target said it will increase capacity online and in call centers . while more customers are finding suspicious charges.

>> they were all way more than i would spend in one go. over $60, $80, $90 and a couple were declined.

>> reporter: there are signs of trouble among loyal shoppers.

>> i shop at target almost daily.

>> reporter: target expresses regret for the inconvenience and steps are beg taken to help prevent incidents of this kind in the future.

>> the clock is ticking. every second counts in terms of people going into their stores. having people not trust your store enough to spend that money will not bode well for the retailer.

>> reporter: financial experts point out that the latest data breach is really a wake-up call for everyone. here are tips for people who believe they are victims of fraud. cancel your card or change your account number . if you think your identity may have been stolen, put a freeze on your credit report so no one can open a fraudulent account. remember, credit cards are safer, but if you have to use that debit card choose the credit option instead of the debit option. avoid using the four-digit pin. cash is the safest. but credit and debit cards are here to stay. consumers, banks and stores will all have to find better ways to protect them. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york.