It's one of the largest credit card account thefts in U.S. history. Target announced Friday that customers' encrypted PIN data was removed during the massive security breach that happened earlier this month.

"I think there's risk anytime you use a credit card," explained Consumer Law Attorney Jason Rapa.

Rapa says every time you use plastic to pay, your information is collected.

"That information is ultimately stored at some point, and every time it's stored it's susceptible to someone getting that information."

Last week, Target alerted customers of a massive security breach. Anyone who used their credit or debit card at a Target store between November 27th and December 15th could become a victim. Originally, the company said the stolen data only included customer names, card numbers, expiration dates and security codes, but additional forensic work shows that encrypted PIN data was also swiped.

"The people committing the fraud can duplicate those cards and then sell those cards over the internet and in the black markets," added Rapa. "Or they would use the information for online purchases."

Target maintains the PIN numbers are safe, saying that information is encrypted within its systems and can only be decrypted when it's received by its external, independent payment processor.

"There are federal regulations that protect consumers for unauthorized uses of credit cards or debit cards," Rapa shared.

That includes the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. To be protected under the laws, credit card users need to notify the card issuer in writing within 60 days of getting the statement if there are fraudulent charges.

"You would not be liable for those charges," Rapa said. "You do not have to pay that portion of your bill if you make that dispute, or the finance charges on that portion of the bill."

Unfortunately, It's not as straight forward for debit cards.

"You need to notify the card issuer as soon as possible," described Rapa. "The amounts of liability increase as time goes by."

Target is working with the Secret Service and the Department of Justice to investigate the breach. Rapa says if you're worried your information was stolen, it's a good idea to pull your credit report, think about closing your card and getting a new number, and make sure you review your statements every month.

"This Target incident is a good reminder to individuals that you should look at your statements," Rapa said. "This can happen anywhere, this can happen at any retailer, it can happen with any purchase you made online.