On Monday, Browning received a call from his bank's anti-fraud unit saying that there were two attempts to use his credit card in California — one at a casino in Tracey, Calif., for $8,000 and the other at a casino in Pacheco, for $3,000. Both occurred on Sunday and both were denied. He canceled his credit card and plans to use cash.
"I won't shop at Target again until the people behind this theft are caught or the reasons for the breach are identified and fixed," he said.
Brianna Byrnes, of Kansas City, Mo., a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a call center worker, said she made a Target purchase during the affected period. The situation made her "a little bit" nervous, but she still planned to shop for toys at the store.
"I've never had anyone steal my identity. I guess it's taking a risk."
Target's stock dropped more than 2 percent, or $1.40, to $62.15 on Thursday.
The incident is particularly troublesome for Target because it has used its store-branded credit and debit cards as a marketing tool to attract shoppers with a 5 percent discount.
During an earnings call in November, the company said some 20 percent of store customers as of October have the Target-branded cards. In fact, households that activate a Target-branded card have increased their spending at the store by about 50 percent on average, the company said.
"This is how Target is getting more customers in the stores," said Brian Sozzi, CEO and Chief Equities Strategist. "It's telling people to use the card. It's been a big win. If they lose that trust, that person goes to Wal-Mart."
TJX Cos., which runs stores such as T.J. Maxx and Marshall's, had a breach that began in July 2005 and exposed at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards to possible fraud. The breach was not detected until December 2006.
Without anyone noticing, one or more intruders installed code on the discount retailer's systems to methodically collect and transmit account data from millions of cards.
In 2009, TJX agreed to pay $9.75 million in a settlement with multiple states.
In 2011, an even larger hack hit Sony, which had to rebuild trust among PlayStation Network gamers after hackers compromised personal information, including credit card data, on more than 100 million user accounts.
Litan doubts the breach will have much effect on Target's sales, noting that TJX launched sales promotions immediately following the news of its breach. The promotions increased sales.
"People care more about discounts than security," Litan said.
Associated Press writers Michelle Chapman in New York and Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.