Chances are you have heard that there was a data breach at Target. As of now, about 40 million people who have shopped at Target since Thanksgiving could be at risk of having their credit card information stolen and sold to interested parties.
If you have shopped at Target during that time frame, your information could be at risk and you could become a victim of identity theft.
Unfortunately, our information is used in such a multitude of places that the likelihood of identity compromise and theft are very high. We should all know how to respond appropriately. Here are the ways you can protect your accounts from current and future attacks:
If You May Have Potentially Been Affected by the Breach:
If you shopped at Target since Thanksgiving, then the time to act is now. Consider yourself a potential victim and take the necessary steps to protect your money and credit.
Here’s what to do if you’re a potential victim of this breach:
- Change your debit card pin.
- Change the passwords to your online bank account and credit cards.
- Monitor your transactions in the days and weeks to come.
- If informed of a breach on your account, change your credit card numbers by calling your bank and credit card companies’ fraud departments.
How to Protect Yourself from Future Data Breaches:
Even if you have not shopped at Target, there is still action to be taken. Data breaches happen like this at any time. This troublesome situation is a good opportunity to become more proactive on protecting your financial accounts.
Review your credit report quarterly.
Each year you are allowed one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. Monitor your reports once three times per year to look for suspicious or incorrect information. One of our NFCC Professionals can also help you review your credit report to help you make improvements using options that are available to you. To obtain your free credit report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com. If you do see errors on your credit report at any time, dispute the error the error with the bureau whose report is showing the error (or all three if it’s showing up on all three). If you’ve done all of this and still haven’t received resolution, contact the CFPB.
Monitor your transactions on your bank account and credit cards daily.
If you see transactions that weren’t made by you, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
Protect Your Financial Information – Even from people you know and love.
Unfortunately, a large number of cases of identity theft happen between family members. Please don’t open the door for this to happen. Keep your cards, checks and case in a safe secret place. If you do become a victim, the first step in recourse is to file a police report. Otherwise, the debt is assumed to be yours.
Look for suspicious activity in your tax information and your medical activity:
Know that your social security number may be used by identity thieves to obtain tax refunds and medical care in your name. If you receive information that does not align with your behavior, contact the organization that sent you the bill and talk with their fraud department.
Contact CCCSOK.org if you would like one of our NFCC Certified Professional Counselors to review your financial situation with you and help you with resolving an identity theft situation.