CONSUMER ALERT: Some Target holiday gift cards not activated

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (NBC NEWS) -- Target is apologizing to shoppers who bought holiday gift cards that weren’t properly activated, leaving recipients with cards that didn’t have value at the register.

How many cards were affected isn’t clear. TV station KMSP in Minneapolis reported that up to 40,000 cards could be affected, citing an unnamed source.

But Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in an email to NBC News on Tuesday that “numbers that have been reported in the media are much higher than what we experienced as the actual number of cards impacted was less than 0.1% of the total sold during the holiday period.”

The company wouldn’t say how many total cards were sold.

“We are aware that some Target gift cards were not fully activated and apologize for the inconvenience,” Snyder said in the email.

“Target will honor the impacted cards. If a guest discovers that their gift card has not been activated, they can bring it to the guest service desk at their local Target store or call 1-800-544-2943 for assistance.” Guests do not need a receipt for the card.

The mistake comes on the heels of a massive data breach that affected as many as 40 million payment cards of customers who shopped at Target stores across the country between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

Target added staff to call centers following the incident to handle the volume of calls.

Snyder said stores are “well equipped” to handle the gift card issue at their guest service desks.

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