As news became public last month that the holiday Target hack stole 40 million credit card and debit card consumer information, this brought into spotlight once again the potential for identity theft everywhere we shop. Then this month when it was announced that the hack also broke into the Target massive information database with a potential exposure of 70 million consumers, even I began to look over my statements and banking information to make sure there was no unwanted activity. This compromised phone numbers, emails and home addresses.
According to the Consumer Federation of America Advocate, Susan Grant: ” The possibilities are so much greater now that this other information has been compromised.”
In light of this, Target has set up several avenues to support as they conduct the investigation to see how far back this goes, banks have also been active in taking measures to try to protect customer information that was potentially compromised during the breach.
Here are some specific things to keep in mind in reference to this and to how to avoid being a victim of identity theft with the information that hackers now have.
- Watch out! Be on the look out for fake phones calls, emails and letters in the mail now that all 3 forms of communication are available to them. Do not supply personal information or click on any links even if it looks official. Instead, if you are concerned consider going directly to the source. If a bank or target calls your phones and says you have been affected by the Target hack. Call the bank number on the back of your credit card to resolve the issue. If an email claims to be from Target, go to Target.com/databreach.
- It’s Free! Sign up for free fraud monitoring. Target is offering one year free credit monitoring for anyone who has shopped in their U.S stores as well identity protection. Click here for instructions on how to sign up.
- It’s Your Call! Don’t wait for a call from Target, a bank or your credit card company. Call and let them know if you shopped at Target during the period of concern. Many banks as well as Target with their “Red Cards” have been issuing new cards and supplying new PINS as a precaution. Target has a phone line for any customer that suspects fraud on their credit card, (866-852-8680)
- Important Homework Assignment: Given the nature of the personal information that is at risk, review any website that manages your credit card. If they have access to your email and any credit or debit information they could possibly try to log-on as you.
Lastly, please contact your agent, WTM to make sure you have the appropriate Identity Theft Protection on your policy. Likewise, businesses should make sure that they have a Cybersecurity policy in place, should any of their customer information be compromised in any way.