Target announced Thursday that it is investigating a security breach that leaked credit and debit card information for approximately 40 million customers in the U.S.
The breach, which is under investigation, occurred between Thanksgiving and December 15. Chances are good that if you used a credit or debit card in a Target store at this time, your data may have been compromised. Data from online shopping transactions was not affected, according to reports.
Target is reporting that the data stolen includes customer names, credit or debit card numbers, and card expiration dates and CVVs (the three-digit security codes). You can read Target’s official statement for more information.
What Should You Do If Your Card Was Compromised?
Keep a very close eye on your statements. Check them regularly and immediately report any suspicious activity.
Contact your credit card company or debit card account holder and ask them what safety precautions you should take. You may wish to put a fraud alert on your cards as a precaution. To be extra safe, you may want to cancel your card and get a new one.
Check your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year. So check your report from one of the bureaus in a few weeks, then the next one 4 months later, and then the third one 4 months after that. Between diligent monitoring of your accounts and quarterly checks of your credit report, you should be able to catch any fraudulent activity.
Report any errors on your credit reports or statements immediately. You should also contact your local law enforcement if there’s been fraudulent activity on your accounts.
I personally have used both a credit card and a debit card at Target in this time frame, and the news of the data breach is disturbing. It is an unfortunate reminder to diligently monitor your accounts and your credit report.
And while many people will say that in these situations “Cash is King,” there are risks that come with carrying cash as well.
No one cares about your money as much as you. So remember to always watch every penny – whether it is on a card or in your pocket.