What should you do about data breach involving Target stores?

Updated: 12/19/2013 5:40 PM
Created: 12/19/2013 5:16 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion

If you shopped at any Target store between Black Friday and last weekend, your credit or debit card account may be at risk. Officials say the breach could affect as many as 40 million shoppers. Even though experts say thieves will only use a small percentage of those cards, shoppers should be taking immediate precautions.

Emily Tanksley, shopper, said, “It's pretty scary because you think you can just go into a store and shop and just leave but apparently you have to guard your information now just shopping.”

Should you cancel your card? Experts say to be safe, yes. If you are a victim of the security attack, it may be quite the hassle to get your money back because millions of people may be affected. Experts are also recommending you protect yourself by putting a security freeze on your credit report or activating a fraud alert on your credit cards. A local expert says the time is now to take action to protect yourself if you haven't already because these attacks are becoming a common trend.

Andy Meneely, RIT Assistant Professor of Software Engineering, said, “We've seen it happen with big companies like JCPenney's, T.J. Maxx and so this is another terrible situation. Companies, obviously this is bad for business. This is something that is going to keep happening. This is not a current problem. This is actually going to be a perpetual problem for years to come.”

Is it safe to shop at Target? Officials say they have fixed the problem. They say you can still shop there and be safe. But in the meantime, you should be checking for any suspicious charges on your account, not just now, but in the weeks to come. Experts say fraud might not show up for months.

How can I contact the credit reporting agencies? There are three of them. Contact Equifax.com or (800) 525-6285 , experian.com or (888) 397-3742 and transunion.com or (800) 680-7289.

How can I get a free copy of my credit report? You can get one free copy from each of the credit reporting agencies. You can also get one a year at annualcreditreport.com. Some people like to request their report from just one agency every four
months, cycling through the agencies to stretch out the monitoring.*


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