The size of the data breach at Target Co. stores late last year took a sharp rise Friday when the retailer said it now estimates that up to 70 million individuals may have had information that includes their "names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses" stolen.
Previously, as we have reported, Target had said that "approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been impacted" when its customers' accounts were hacked during the height of the holiday shopping season.
In its statement Friday morning, the retailer says:
-- "As part of Target's ongoing forensic investigation, it has been determined that certain guest information — separate from the payment card data previously disclosed — was taken during the data breach."
-- "This theft is not a new breach, but was uncovered as part of the ongoing investigation."
-- "Guests will have zero liability for the cost of any fraudulent charges arising from the breach. To provide further peace of mind, Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all guests who shopped our U.S. stores. Guests will have three months to enroll in the program. Additional details will be shared next week. To learn more, please go to target.com/databreach."
Target has 1,797 stores in the U.S. and 124 in Canada. We'll be updating with more news about this latest announcement.