RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Target's data breach has left thousands of Virginians without access to their child support and welfare payments, while also compromising their financial information.
Nearly 4,000 Virginians' names, debit card numbers and security codes may have been compromised when they used their EPPICards at Target over the holiday season, according to the Department of Social Services.
One of them is Chesterfield resident, Lisa Bellesheim. "That money I'm in dire need of. I'm in dire need of it and I can't access it whatsoever."
All cards were blocked on Wednesday and new cards began being issued Friday. However, it will take up to 10 business days for customer's to receive their new cards and in the meantime, those affected do not have access to their money.
"I'm afraid my utilities will be shut off," said Bellesheim. "I have a 16-year-old daughter who I don't want to feel embarrassed about it. It just doesn't make you feel good as a parent, like you're letting them down."
EPPICards are used to provide child support and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments. A total of 3,986 cards were breached after being used at Target between November 27 and December 15, according to the Commonwealth.
VDSS uses Xerox as the vendor for Virginia's EPPICard program and says the company blocked all affected cards Wednesday, leaving those card holders with no way to access the money or use their cards.
Xerox is calling affected cardholders and began mailing out replacement cards Friday. VDSS says it is working with Xerox and the Virginia Department of the Treasury to monitor the situation.
"We realize this may create a hardship for families and individuals that rely on these funds and have been assured that Xerox is working diligently to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible," VDSS said in a statement.
Xerox says VDSS customers will not be responsible for any fraud that occurs due to the theft of their information.
The Virginia Attorney General's Office says it is contact with Target, along with other state attorneys general. It is urging consumers to report any suspicious activity to the local FBI field office at 804-261-1044.
If any consumer finds fraudulent charges on her credit card, the Attorney General's Office recommends they contact their credit card issuer to notify it of the problem and get a new credit card issued. It also recommend they closely monitor their credit cards, credit reports, and financial statements for suspicious activity.
For more information on the impact of the Target breach on EPPICards, the DSS recommends users call customer service at 800-961-8423.