Dems call for hearings in wake of Target data theft

A trio of Democratic senators are calling for congressional hearings into the massive data breach at Target retail stores.

In a letter to the heads of the Senate Banking Committee, they said that the illicit access of credit and debit card data for roughly 40 million Americans nationwide proves the need for a prompt Washington inquiry into the safety of consumer financial data. Sens. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezDems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees Lobbying World This week: GOP lawmakers reckon with Trump MORE (N.J.), Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Healthcare: House, Senate on collision course over Zika funding Ryan goes all-in on Puerto Rico Cruz's dad: Trump 'would be worse than Hillary Clinton' MORE (N.Y.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerLawmaker bemoans tax 'buzzsaw' for on-demand economy workers Reid throws wrench into Clinton vice presidential picks Reid: 'Hell no' to VP pick from state with a Republican governor MORE (Va.), all members of that panel, signed on to the letter.

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“As companies collect, store, and process ever-greater quantities of consumer data, they — and our regulators — must become even more vigilant against breaches and improper use,” they wrote.

Target announced earlier this month that millions of Americans’ financial data was compromised after a massive data breach spanning much of the holiday shopping season.

The senators said the event should drive questions from Congress about whether companies are taking all the needed steps to protect customer information, and whether lawmakers need to consider passing stricter cybersecurity standards. 

They also want to hear from financial regulators on what tools they have to fight such tech-savvy thieves, and how they are working with financial companies to fight such breaches, and minimize any resulting damage.