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Target shoppers worry about security breach at height of holiday season

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSHANNEL 3) -- Attention Target shoppers! 

If you've shopped at the national retailer over the past three weeks, your debit or credit card information could have been stolen by hackers.  
Target says 40 million people who used their cards in stores from Nov 27 to Dec 15 could be impacted.

I am going Christmas shopping, of course, said Amber Peugeot, as she filled up her car with bags at Target in Kalamazoo.

But behind the merriment of the busy holiday shopping season is a very big Grinch.

It could have been us. Luckily we've stayed away from using debit cards for that reason, Peugeot said.

Hopefully it wasn't one of mine, because Ive been here a lot, said Target shopper Anthony Saltarelli.  

It's being called one of the biggest hacks on a retailer in history. 

It could happen to pretty much any vendor. It depends on vulnerabilities and weaknesses that may not be secure, said Michael Nicholas, an Associate Professor at Davenport University.

The technology professor said a team of hackers most likely stole the card information by breaking through a weak security link.  

From there, hackers can cause more trouble, potentially stealing your identity.

Its a good idea to go change your passwords. If they get into one, they can get into others using the same password or identity.  Youll want to take a close look at your statements. Not monthly but on a regular basis, Nicholas said.

Target is asking customers to look at card statements, contacting their bank and them if anything is unusual. 

The company says the problem has been fixed and the Secret Service is investigating. 

Its too bad. There's always someone out there in the holiday season looking to capitalize, Saltarelli said.

Online sales were not impacted by this. 

Target has a hotline for shoppers who have concerns. 

That number is 866-852-8680.