We reported on Friday that the number of victims of the Target data breach had increased from 40 million to 110 million Target customers. Leslie Frederickson of Pleasanton is one of those 110 million customers. But let me tell you, it would be a mistake to just consider her just one more number.
Pleasanton resident Leslie Frederickson works freelance jobs whenever she can get work. It can be a struggle at times to come up with the money to just meet life's basic necessities.
"I'm working pay check to pay check and you know I have to pay for my BART ticket every week. I have my rent," said Frederickson.
She shopped at Target on Black Friday. On Christmas Eve, it was confirmed she was a victim of the Target data breach. Someone rang up four unauthorized charges totaling $850 to her account in Sandy, Utah.
"I've never been in Sandy, Utah. I don't even know where it is in Utah," said Frederickson.
Those charges left her account $100 overdrawn. Her debit card with her online bank NetSpend was rendered useless until it could send her a new one.
"I had to borrow money for the Christmas dinner and from my brother and I also had to borrow money for my rent," said Frederickson.
She says NetSpend told her nothing could be done for her until the charges cleared. It was likely she would not get a new debit card until January 15th -- three weeks after she first reported the fraud.
"It was a very empty feeling. No satisfaction from the bank and I was at a loss," said Frederickson.
She tried to get NetSpend to speed up the process, but she says she was told several times she would have to wait. So she called 7 On Your Side.
"Once 7 On Your Side contacted them, my money was returned immediately," said Frederickson.
NetSpend told us in an email, "At NetSpend, we are focused on providing our cardholders protection from unauthorized use, including account alerts. We were more than happy to assist Ms. Fredrickson in this situation."
Frederickson now has her new debit card.
"It feels great. It feels great because I'm part of the living human beings again. Life without plastic doesn't mean anything," she said.
We're glad she's whole again. On a related note, Target has refused to answer our question about whether driver's license information was also stolen in the data breach. Target swipes your license whenever you return merchandise, or purchase age-restricted items such as alcohol and certain video games.
Officials say everything that can be shared is at Target.com, where we found no information about driver's license data being stolen. We also checked with the California DMV and it says it has no evidence that driver's license information has been compromised.
What do privacy advocates say about this? We talked to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and it says most consumers don't need to worry. They think it's unlikely driver's license information was stolen. If it was, the people with the most concern would be those who want to keep their anonymity, such as domestic violence or stalking victims.