Cleaning up after Target breach: 'We ensure that our members aren't affected'

      EUGENE, Ore. -- Credit unions across the nation are still cleaning up from the Target data breach from a few weeks ago.

      Officials at a couple of local credit unions say they are taking a financial hit for their customers in the wake of the stolen credit and debit card information.

      "We ensure that our members aren't affected, and we do take on that loss," said Melissa Vigil of NorthWest Community Credit Union. "We are obligated as their financial partner."

      Even though many banks and credit unions offer zero-fraud liability on their bankcards, someone has to bear the cost of the stolen cash. Debit card companies like Visa or MasterCard make financial institutions and merchants bear some of the expense of a fraudulent charge.

      It's still unclear how much the financial institutions will have to pay until more fraud claims are processed. But as the dust settles, many banks are approaching the breach as a learning opportunity.

      "We strategically prepare for those 'what-ifs', and we prepare for those to make sure there is the least if any impact to our members," said Vigil.

      If the charge is caught early enough, Selco spokesperson Leeann Brockelman said the bank or credit union can avoid being charged.

      "The most important thing is that if there is a charge you do not recognize that you've done, then that is the point that you want to start asking questions," said Brockelman.

      If you feel your data has been compromised, officials say it is very easy to issue a new debit card and avoid fraudulent charges.

      "Always check your statements," Brockelman said. "Typically there are time-frames for reporting fraudulent activity so that your issuer can act on your behalf and you are not liable for those charges."

      Another step in the works to defend your data are having debit and credit cards use a micro chip instead of a magnetic strip. Even if the chip cards become commonplace, Vigil says there are always hackers looking to break in to any new system.