Over the course of the four Christmas meals I’ve indulged in over the past few days (I need to get to the gym), I have come to realize the recent credit card record breach announced by Target is a big topic on the minds of the ladies around the table.
In case you haven’t heard, Target recently released information admitting that the credit card information of 40 million shoppers at it stores had been hacked and compromised.
The data breach involved credit and debit card transaction occurring between Nov. 27th and Dec. 15, which apparently was a time frame that managed to ensnare every single woman in my family.
Listening to the conversation regarding this catastrophe made me realize how important this great retailer is to the typical American family. Some of the angst being expressed sounded about on par with finding out a boyfriend had flirted online with an old flame: Intimate techno betrayal.
One Facebook post, “Dear Target you were once my true love … now I hate you”. Tough stuff here.
To be sure, this is a big potential problem, so I thought I would address some steps to take to protect yourself and your accounts.
First, if you were possibly affected by the breach, you need to be watching your bank account on a daily basis right now. Fortunately in the online world this is easy, so be very deliberate. Log on every day and take a look.
While fraudulent debt card transactions ultimately have a zero consumer liability, the inconvenience level associated with your bank account while the fraud is being investigated and re-credited can have a serious impact on your finances and your psyche, so be very diligent with your bank account.
Second, go to www.annualcreditreport.com and download one of your three free credit reports all consumers are entitled to each year. Review your credit report closely for accounts and balances and Target is offering free credit monitoring to those affected. Go to Target.com to learn more.
Third, for peace of mind you may want to replace any card used at Target with a new card with a new number. Your bank and credit card company will be glad to help and many are waiving fees for those affected by the Target breach.
And fourth, be careful with emails regarding this issue. Target has already acknowledged some phishing scams associated with the breach. Target is not requesting any consumer account information by email and has copies of official communication on its website as well.