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Target Security Breach – What You Need to Know

Target has reported that payment card data has been stolen. The thieves obtained customer names, credit/debit card numbers, card expiration date, and the three-digit security code (CVV). Encrypted PIN data was also stolen. On January 10th, Target reported that mailing and email addresses, names and phone numbers were also stolen. The breach now includes data collected outside of the holiday period, as well as purchases that were made in a Target store (not online at between November 27 and December 15, 2013.

What should you do? Review your credit and debit accounts including your Target REDcard frequently for unauthorized charges whether you used them at Target or not. Check daily if you used the card at Target. You may want to request a fraud alert be placed on your credit file at the credit reporting agencies (CRAs), Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

If you used a debit card at Target, you should change your PIN.

If you think you are at high danger of fraud, in some states you may request a “security freeze” be put on your account at the CRAs listed above; this service may be free or require a small free to put on and lift. A security freeze is the best way to prevent new credit accounts being fraudulently in your name. It remains on until you request that it be lifted.

Watch for any email or letter that might be from Target. Unless Target has your contact information (email or address), treat anything you receive as a scam. Don’t click on a link or call a phone number. If you need to contact Target, use a publicly available phone number or link on their corporate website.

Don't click on any links in emails that ask for personal information even if you think you know the sender. It could be a phishing scam.

Target’s statement and FAQ explains the breach in more detail and provides specific steps you should take. Read these if you have a Target REDcard.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has detailed information about Identity Theft and Data Breaches including the fact sheet: How to Deal with a Security Breach.


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