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MEDIA CENTER

Don’t Let the Target Hackers Hit Your Credit Bulls-Eye!

If it weren’t bad enough, we now hear that possibly 70 million consumer’s personal information has been hacked from Target’s database – thieves could potentially have names, addresses, phone numbers and email accounts. “Before, with only bank account information, we were subjected to fraud; the illegal use of an account to make unauthorized purchases,” states Jana Castanon spokesperson for Apprisen. “Now, there is potential for identity theft; the use of personal information to open new accounts.” This has the potential to affect consumers for years to come. But there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Be on alert. Armed with your contact information, you might receive a phone call, letter or email requesting information because “you possibly could have been a victim of the Target breach”. If someone calls you claiming to be from the bank, hang up and call back the number on the back of your card. Do not click on any link in an email.  Instead contact your financial institution or go to the Target website for information.
  • Put a freeze on your credit report. By contacting the credit bureaus and placing a freeze on your files, you are ensuring that accounts cannot be opened up without your authorization. If at some point in the future you are anticipating needing immediate access to credit, you can contact them to remove the alert.
  • Check your statements. This is a good reminder to check all of our statements for fraudulent purchases on a consistent basis. Be aware of small transaction amounts – that could be a test to verify the account before larger amounts come through.  
  • Change your passwords. Any email account that you have provided Target, change your password. Use upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols to make them more secure. 
  • Get new cards. If you believe that your credit or debit card numbers have been compromised, contact your bank and request replacement cards for those accounts. 

Target has announced that they will pay for credit monitoring and identity theft protection for one year to all consumers who have visited their store. They will be releasing more information next week on how consumers can sign up for this service. 

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Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for almost 60 years.

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