Target hack leaves thousands without access to child support payments, TANF

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jan 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-04 01:20:52-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)- A press release issued  on behalf of the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) late in the day, at 4:22 p.m. Friday, reports that the Target data breach has affected EPPICards used at Target during that time period.

These cards include child support payments and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.  A total of 3,986 EPPICards were affected during the Target breach between November 27 and December 15, 2013.

Customer names, debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards may be among the information compromised, a representative said.

One way in which these cards are utilized by parents is that a child support payment is made to the state and the funds are made available in the account, which associated with a card. That card can be used at Target to purchase items.

The vendor, Xerox, was made aware of the data compromise and blocked all affected cards on the first of the year. The press release stated that card holders no longer had use of their cards or access to their funds as of that date.

However, replacement cards weren’t mailed until today, according to the press release.

After multiple calls and emails to the VDSS, spokesperson Joron Mooreclear clarified that there are almost 4,000 people without access to money that would help feed their families.

"Unfortunately, yes. Clients will not have access to any funds that are typically accessed with their EPPI card," she wrote in an email response.

CBS 6 requested an on camera interview with DSS regarding the situation. We were told no one was available. We asked why the department waited until Friday afternoon to send the release, when the affected cards were blocked on January 1st.

We were issued a statement from VDSS Commissioner Margaret Ross Schultze, which in addition to the details already released earlier in the day, stated that "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."

"If clients are in need of additional assistance until they receive their card, they may call 2-1-1 VIRGINIA."

Schultze said that DSS was made aware of this issue by the Virginia Department of Treasury on Thursday, January 2.  Since that time, the DSS has been working with Treasury to confirm the course of action to be taken by Xerox.

She said that when all facts were verified, the DSS issued a press release in the interest of reaching as many clients as possible.

Although the statement claims that Xerox notified individuals who did not have access to funds, Jessie Johnson said she never received any notice, and had to call the number on her EPPICard herself.

"You can't talk to anybody," she said.

Johnson said she uses the card to pay her monthly rent, which is due this Sunday. She said right now, she's going to have to find other ways to pay the bills.

A social media post on Facebook led to many replies from people who said they have been affected by this situation. Several people said that they didn't know what had happened.

Sholonda Bibbs said that she was not notified, and that "Didn't get my child support direct deposit today."

Jessie Johnson said that she was told it will take between seven and ten days to get a new card. "What do we do in the mean time?" she asked.

Horace Anderson said he "went two buy some food card," and the card was declined.
I hope this gets fixed soon. Just had 2 submit lots of personal info. 2 get recertified," he wrote on Facebook.

VDSS customers will not be responsible for any fraud that occurs due to the theft of their information. Customers can call EPPICard Customer Service at 800-961-8423 to obtain additional information.

We will provide continuing updates on