By Mike Hellgren

NEW YORK (WJZ) — The number of Maryland victims in the Target credit card breach could be in the hundreds of thousands. That staggering estimate from the attorney general’s office comes as Target reaches out to top prosecutors nationwide.

Mike Hellgren tells one victim’s story.

Target—facing lawsuits and customer outrage—briefed attorneys general for several states about the credit card breach that has left millions nationwide at risk of thieves stealing money from their accounts.

Assistant AG Steve Ruckman was on that call representing Maryland.

“We plan to be in regular contact with Target, as well as attorneys general in other states to find out what we can about this as it unfolds,” Ruckman said. “This is a very concerning breach. We think there are several hundred thousand potential victims in Maryland alone.”

Both the Justice Department and Secret Service are now partners in the ongoing investigation into who hacked into Target’s credit card system, but the company said, “Due to the nature of the investigation, the Secret Service has asked not to share many of the details of the forensics and investigation.”

“We have a Discover card and it’s selling for $39,” said Neal O’Farrell, Identity Theft Council.

You can now buy some of those compromised credit card numbers on the internet—easily.

“They sell them not only to the highest bidder but to any bidder. It’s almost like ransom,” O’Farrell said.

And people are already noticing money taken from their accounts.

“I saw six transactions that were not mine at all at a Target in Harrisburg and I’m not in Harrisburg,” said scam victim Erica Eakin. “When I did call, they were telling me the bank has dealt with so many of these. Seeing it on the news, it’s incredible that I’m part of that.”

Target says it has doubled the number of customer service representatives taking calls and Maryland’s attorney general’s office says you should only deal directly with Target or your bank if you notice theft.

“We have heard about scams happening already where people are trying to collect more information in an effort to further perpetuate these frauds,” Ruckman said.

Target’s stock dropped again Tuesday. The company, which is the nation’s third largest retailer, lost about $1 billion in value since the theft scandal broke.

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