Pittsburgh, PA - December 19, 2013 – As a result of a recent data breach at Target Corporation,your Better Business Bureau is reminding consumers of the importance in consistently monitoring financial accounts and credit reports. Consumers should also be familiar with the actions they should take to protect their financial information, in the case that their debit or credit card information was included in the breach.
According to a Target Corp. statement, the information involved in the incident includes customer name, credit or debit card number, the card’s expiration date and the three-digit security code (CVV). If you shopped at Target between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, you should check your account for any suspicious or unusual activity.
“With this information in the wrong hands, perpetrators will be able to make fraudulent purchases using the victim’s hard-earned money,”said Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA.“Consumers should always be vigilant in safeguarding their personal and financial information and even more so after a security breach of this proportion, in hopes of minimizing financial damage.
Consumers who used debit cards while shopping at Target during the impacted time frame should be especially assertive in reviewing transactions. With credit cards, you can withhold payment of an amount in dispute, but debit card transactions remove funds directly from your bank account. Target is in the process of notifying banks and credit card issuers,who will in turn notify affected customers. You can contact your bank or credit card issuer for more information if you want to preemptively request a new debit card or put a security block on your account.
Should you find that you have become a victim of a data breach, BBB recommends the following actions:
· Contact the organization that suffered the breach – They should have a hotline set-up to address your concerns and answer your questions. [Target Corporation’s hotline number is 866-852-8680.]
· Monitor your banking and credit statements closely – Monitor your financial statements carefully (go online; don’t wait for the paper statement). If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your financial institution or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued.
· File a fraud alert with all three credit reporting agencies – The credit reporting agencies are required by law to flag your credit report for 90 days if you file a fraud alert. Then if someone tries to open a new account using your information you should be contacted for verification.
· Sign up for free copies of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. – Consider pulling your reports every three or four months.While you can pull reports from all three credit bureaus at once, consider pulling your credit reports one at a time spread throughout the year. Pulling reports separately allows you to better monitor them and keep track of any changes or new information that may appear.
· Keep receipts - Keep documentation of your purchases in case you need to prove which charges you authorized and which ones you did not.
BBB Warning: Due to the potential size of the breach, scammers will likely use this highly public event to create emails purporting to be from Target, your bank or your credit card issuer, telling you your card was compromised and suggesting actions to “fix”the problem. Phishing emails may attempt to fool you into providing your credit card information or ask you to click on a link or open an attachment, which can download malware on your computer that are designed to steal your identity.Don’t click on any email links or attachments unless you are absolutely certain the sender is authentic.
For more information on data breaches, visit http://www.bbb.org/data-security/.
About the BBB System
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior.BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews and BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 113 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4.5 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.