First Target, then Neiman Marcus. Shoppers have reason to be jittery as two major retailers disclose security breaches that compromised millions of credit and debit cards. And there may be others.
Last week Neiman Marcus confirmed that their payment processing system was breached back in mid-December. An investigation by a forensics firm confirmed on January 1 that the company had been victimized by cyber criminals and some of their customers’ credit card information had been stolen.
The company has been fairly mum on the details, beyond acknowledging the issue. “We are taking steps, where possible, to notify customers whose cards we know were used fraudulently after making a purchase at our store,” according to a spokesperson.
The upscale retailer said it is cooperating with the U.S. Secret Service, a risk management firm, a forensics firm and their merchant processor.
Target breach worsens, company offers free credit monitoring
Meanwhile, Target stores said this week that the security breach disclosed in December was worse than first reported. In addition to debit and credit card information, customers’ names, phone numbers and email addresses were swiped in the massive breach.
An estimated 40 million shoppers were affected by the Target breach, which occurred between November 27 and December 15. The company sent emails to potentially affected customers this week, advising them that their information could have been shared.
Target is offering a free year of credit monitoring service to customers who shopped in their stores during the time period in question. The service, offered through Experian’s ProtectMyID, can be activated through a free code, available by clicking through to creditmonitoring.target.com. The codes must be redeemed by April 30 of this year. ProtectMyID includes identity theft insurance, as well as credit monitoring services.
Steps to protect your information
In an email to customers, Target reiterated three basic identity theft prevention guidelines.
Don’t share sensitive personal information in conversations initiated over the phone, via email or by text—even if it’s someone you know well or regularly do business with. Ask for a number and call them back.
If you receive a text from an unfamiliar number, delete it immediately.
Never click links in emails from people you don’t know; be suspicious of any email asking for money or directing you to click on an unfamiliar link.
More information about the Target breach is available at a dedicated website the company has set up.