If you are one of millions of American consumers who shop at
Target, you have heard about the unauthorized access that took
place over the past couple of weeks at Target stores.
Specifically what happened is that access was obtained to payment
card data, used in the stores opening up Target customers to fraud
and the potential to become victims of identity theft. Target
Corporation says that up to 40 million credit cards and debit cards
of shoppers who visited the stores during the last week of November
and first two weeks of December are at risk.
For Target, this security breach could not have come at a worse
time. The shopping that occurs between Thanksgiving and
Christmas is the store’s busiest time of the year and may deter
consumers from shopping at the giant retailer in the future.
In response to the security breach, Target sent out a notice to its
customers giving all the facts of the unauthorized
access. Target assured its customers that while it
understands misuse of credit card information is stressful,
consumers will not be responsible for fraudulent charges and Target
will offer free credit monitoring services for any consumers
impacted by the security breach. Target determined that the
information involved in the incident included customer names,
credit or debit card numbers, and the card expiration dates and CVV
numbers or security codes on the back of cards.
If you believe you are at risk, you should remain watchful for
fraud and identity theft by regularly reviewing your credit
report and monthly credit card statements. You can sign
up to review your account activity on line so that you can verify
that all charges made on your account belong to you and are not the
result of fraud. If you discover you have been the victim of
fraudulent activity you should report the fraud to your bank, local
police department and the FTC. Additionally, you must contact
credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union
and notify them you have been the victim of identity theft and
request a fraud alert be placed on your credit file. The
fraud alert requires any credit grantor to contact you prior to
extending credit in your name.