If you shopped at a Target store between November 27 and December 15, the debit or credit card you used to pay for your purchases is at risk. Up to 40 million accounts may have been compromised in a security breach which affected stores across the United States during the peak season for holiday shopping. Online purchases were not affected.
Target said as of December 19 the problem had been resolved and that customers could continue to use their cards at Target. However, anyone who made a purchase at Target using a debit card or credit card during the 19-day period of the breach should monitor their accounts for suspicious activity.
What to do
If you shopped in a Target store, identify the card you used. Look at receipts or go online to access bank and credit card records if you are unsure whether you made a purchase during this timeframe. Information including customers’ names, credit or debit card numbers, card expiration dates and security codes are all at risk of having been accessed.
If there is any suspicious activity, contact your financial institution right away. If customers are concerned that their account was hacked, it would be wise to order a copy of their credit report. Each of the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—is required to provide folks with a free copy of their report once a year. Target recommends that affected customers “remain vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by regularly reviewing your account statements and monitoring free credit reports.”
Who to contact
If consumers have questions about this security breach, they can contact Target at (866) 852-8680 or go to Target.com for more information. They should reach out to their bank if they see unusual account activity.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also has some consumer tips for identity theft victims, including guidance on setting up fraud alerts or putting security freezes on their accounts. They can be contacted at (877) ID-THEFT or go their website for more information on what to do.