Retailers and officials who keep track of economic growth have to be nervous about the expanding theft of personal information of Target customers who use plastic to make purchases.
Ongoing investigations have resulted in the number of customers affected growing from 40 million to up to 110 million people. Neiman Marcus also reports that its credit card customers may have been struck by hackers.
The concern certainly is for the individual consumers who may have had their information stolen. Identity theft may result and unauthorized purchases. Consumers are urged to go over their credit and bank statements carefully.
But the bigger concern is that consumers may stop using credit and debit cards to make purchases at retailers overall. That could have a negative effect on the economy.
People who use cash and credit cards may be more reluctant to make purchases because they immediately see the effect that has on their available cash. To help the economy, the problem at Target has to be corrected quickly to restore consumer confidence and purchases with plastic.