Free Identity Theft & Credit Monitoring For All Target Shoppers

KSL News
Mon, Jan 20, 2014
Subject: Free Credit Monitoring From Target
www.MorningLiberty.com 

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Expect more, pay less has brought new meaning as Target announced this week how shoppers can enroll in a free credit monitoring and identity theft protection service in the wake of a massive data heist.

According to a specially dedicated website, the retailer will offer customers the service for one year.

Target customers can register for the service — regardless whether they have been personally affected by the theft of customer data records at the discount store chain.

Step-by-step instructions on how to enroll in the Target credit monitoring program.

The announcement comes after Target revealed last week that the massive security breach may have affected up to 110 million of its customers during the holiday shopping season and included more types of confidential information than previously disclosed.

Target had previously reported that about 40 million credit and debit cards may have been affected by the breach that occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this. I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.
–Gregg Steinhafel

While continuing to investigate, Target now indicates that an additional 70 million customers were impacted by the theft of their names, phone numbers, and email and mailing addresses. Some of the information stolen in the data breach belonged to customers who shopped before the holiday season.

"They all claim to care about protecting us from identity theft, but their very similar privacy policies don't appear to support these claims," Denise Richardson, herself a victim of identity theft and author of "Give Me Back My Credit" told KSL. "It's difficult to believe they are as interested in protecting our personal info as they are in protecting their business model in an ecosystem comprised of undisclosed partners, affiliates, vendors, alliances, resellers and contractors who, along with any other undisclosed third party they warn they buy, sell or share our data with."

Surpassing an incident uncovered in 2007 that saw more than 45 million credit and debit cards stolen from Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, the Target data breach is the largest reported ever for a retailer.

"Within a day of enrolling in the credit monitoring service, I received details to check my credit," Remington Longstreth, a frequent Target shopper told KSL. "I'm going to use this service to supplement what I already have to protect my good name and reputation in the community."

In addition to the Target credit monitoring service, impacted customers may also protect themselves from potential identity theft.

Periodically review your credit report

Related:
Fury and frustration over Target data breach
Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to Target's security breach said they had trouble contacting the discounter through its website and call centers.
By keeping close tabs on your credit report, you can detect signs of identity theft early. If you find an account not opened by you and have identified it as fraudulent, enter a dispute directly with the creditor as well as with the credit reporting agencies of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

You can obtain a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228.

Place a 90-day initial fraud alert on your credit report

Contact the credit reporting agencies and request a 90-day initial fraud alert on your credit report. Not only will this trigger a free credit report but will advise potential creditors to investigate any application prior to issuing credit, goods, benefits and/or services.

Equifax can be contacted at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742 and Trans Union at 800-916-8800. Be sure to renew the alert every three months.

Freeze your credit report

Identity thieves are frozen in their tracks without access to your credit report as potential creditors will not have access to your credit history. In most states, you are entitled to temporarily “freeze” access to your credit profile without cost if you are over 65 years of age or are a verified victim of identity theft. All others may be required to pay a small fee. Without access to your credit report, a responsible lender will not issue credit.

Stop unsolicited credit card offers

Opting out at www.optoutprescreen.com or 888-5OPT-OUT will stop most unsolicited pre-approved applications and reduce the incidence of identity theft. Opting out refers to the process of removing your name and address from lists supplied by the Equifax, Experian, Trans Union and Innovis credit reporting agencies to be used for firm (preapproved/ prescreened) offers of credit or insurance.

"Freezing our credit and keeping a vigilant eye on our accounts ourselves continues to be the only way we have any control over our data, at least until there is far more transparency and a lot less sharing of data," Richardson said.

Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.

 

 

KSL News Dec. 23, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY — Target is very much in damage control mode following last week's announcement of the nation's second-largest data breach.

Someone or a group of people stole credit or debit card information for tens of millions of Target customers. It serves as a good reminder to use a credit card instead of debit card when purchasing things.

Gone, just like that. The hack into Target's network means information such as names, card numbers, expiration dates, even those security codes on the back of cards are compromised.

Victims who used a credit card will not be on the hook for fraudulent charges racked up by identity thieves.

"Sure there might be some logistical challenges, hassle involved. But people aren't going to lose any money because of it," said John Kiernan, senior analyst at Cardhub.com.

Kiernan said the hassle is much greater for debit card users.

"We always recommend making a credit card your primary spending vehicle," he said.

The biggest reason — your debit card is tied to your bank account. When it is compromised, the hard-earned money that you are living on can vanish. You will get it back eventually, but that's money you can't use now to pay bills and buy groceries. You have to fight to get it back.

Related:
Fury and frustration over Target data breach 
Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to Target's security breach said they had trouble contacting the discounter through its website and call centers.
If your credit card is compromised you still have to fill out forms, but it's credit, not actual money. So, as you fight to straighten it out, you can still pay your bills.

Kieran recommends that people who use a debit card stash away emergency money in case they are hit by fraud.

"Have another account, savings account, that you can tap into just so you can meet your temporary bills," he said.

If you can't let go of your debit card, run it as a credit card so you'll sign for your purchase. That signature gets you more favorable fraud protection because banks charge merchants more than they would if you entered your PIN.

"With a PIN debit transaction, you're unlikely to have that kind of blanket reassurance of being covered. So when in doubt, just sign. Also when in doubt, use a credit card," Kieran said.

 


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