According to Target anyone who made purchases by swiping cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed during the data breach. The stolen data includes customer names, credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and the 3 digit security codes. Included in the breach are Target store brand cards and major card brands.
What to Do if You Shopped at Target:
1. Check your credit card statements carefully and immediately. Look for any charges that you didn’t make or pending charges. Often these show up as tiny charges to start so the thief can see if the card will work.
If you see unauthorized charges, report the activity to your credit card companies and call Target at 866-852-8680.
Additionally report the identity theft to law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission on the FTC’s website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling the FTC, at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338).
2. Get a new debit card. As a precautionary measure get a new debit card issued. If you use a REDCard that’s tied to your checking account either set up a small checking account or sign up for the REDCard credit card instead.
3. Credit cards offer protection. Credit cards offer more protection so you should continue to monitor your account and call your credit card company to ensure they are aware.
4. Change passwords and PINs. Even if your account wasn’t breached it is a good reminder to change those PINs and passwords.
How to Keep your Data Safe
1. Pay cash. If you prefer to spend only ash on hand or don’t have/are unable to get a credit card use cash for purchases.
2. Don’t use debit. Debit cards are often unprotected and the money withdrawn comes directly from your account. It’s preferable to use cash or credit cards.
3. Be vigilant about checking your statements. It goes without saying that data breaches are becoming more common. Advances in technology only mean that thieves find new ways to steal data and resell it to others to use. Spend an hour each month (or a few minutes each week) going over statements to ensure that all purchases are accurate.
4. Order credit reports. Download your free credit reports every 4 months, and use the free credit reports being offered by Target too. Monitor your credit reports for any accounts in your name that are not your own.
Any other advice for those affected by the data breach-share it in the comments.