The Target Corporation is sponsoring one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to customers who shopped in its U.S. stores, even those who have not been affected by the retailer’s data breach that occurred during the holiday-shopping season.
In December, Target reported payment information from 40 million credit and debit card accounts — including customers’ card numbers, expiration dates, PINs and embedded code on the magnetic strip on the back of cards – was stolen in a data breach over a 19-day period between November 27 and December 15, 2013.
In January, the company said cyber hackers stole additional data affecting 70 million people. That data included personal information of Target shoppers – names and phone numbers as well as email and mailing addresses. The company said there is some overlap between the two data sets.
While hacking Target customers’ personal information will not allow thieves access to bank or credit card accounts, it places consumers at greater risk for identify theft.
American Federal Re-Issues Debit Cards
American Federal re-issued, at no cost to the customer, the American Federal-issued VISA debit cards identified as being among the cards exposed to potential fraud in the breach of payment card data at Target.
Additionally, American Federal is urging debit cardholders to:
- change their card PINs.
- consider lower daily purchase and cash withdrawal limits on their cards to lessen loss should a card ever be compromised.
- enroll in the free credit monitoring underwritten by Target.
How to Enroll in Free Credit Monitoring
Manually type in your browser address bar (do not copy and paste) creditmonitoring.target.com to request an activation code. Customers are required to submit their name and an email address. After submitting their information, customers receive an email from Target with an activation code and directions for how to enroll in ProtectMyID, a credit monitoring and identity theft protection product offered by Experian, a consumer credit reporting agency that collects information from various sources and provides consumer credit information on individual consumers for a variety of uses.
With their Target activation code, customers may visit protectmyid.com/target to start the enrollment process. At the ProtectMyID site, customers will need to provide Experian with personal information.
After completing the enrollment process, customers receive one year of free monitoring membership which includes:
- Credit Report – One free copy of the customer’s credit report. It does not include a credit score. Customers do not need a credit score to receive the benefits of credit monitoring.
- Daily Credit Monitoring – Alerts for one year that reflect changes to the customer’s credit report.
- Identity Theft Resolution – If confirmed that a customer has been the victim of identity theft, the customer is assigned a Fraud Resolution Agent who will help the customer through the fraud resolution process.
- Identify Theft Insurance – If a Target customer has been a victim of identity theft related to the Target breach, the customer will be covered by an agency insurance policy to help cover certain costs (except where prohibited by law).
- ProtectMyID ExtendCare – Access to assistance from a Fraud Resolution Agent after the initial one-year membership expires.
Customers have until April 23, 2014 to sign up to receive an activation code from Target. Activation codes must be redeemed by April 30, 2014.
Be Wary of Fraudulent Websites
Fraudulent websites are urging shoppers to give up personal information in exchange for gift cards or other compensation for the Target breach. Bogus websites with “Target” in the name, such as “targetcreditfix.com” and “targetsecuritybreach.com,” have been registered.
- Be wary of phony websites, unsolicited calls or email scams that may appear to offer protection but are really trying to get personal information. Always navigate directly to a website rather than click a link within an email or ask for a call-back number.
- Monitor your bank, credit card and other account transactions and monthly statements for unusual or suspicious activity. With American Federal Online Banking, you can monitor your bank transactions 24/7. ProtectMyID provides credit monitoring alerts, which reflect changes in consumers’ credit reports; however, the service does not monitor specific account transactions.
- Never share bank account, personal or other information with anyone over the phone, email or text, when you do not initiate the contact, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, independently verify the identity of the caller or the message before you take any action.
- Be suspicious of emails that ask for money, account numbers, passwords or personal information, like dates of birth or social security numbers, or send you to suspicious websites.
- Be wary of incoming calls. If you receive an incoming call from a person you do not know or cannot identify or if an automated system requests personal information, hang up.
- Verify a number left in a voice mail or text message. Before calling a number in a voice mail message, authenticate the number. Delete texts immediately from numbers or names you do not recognize and cannot confirm before contacting. Remember, American Federal will never ask for client information through an automated voice response system or text message.
- Contact your American Federal Banker immediately, if you notice a transaction you did not authorize, are suspicious of something you see in your account or on your statement or suspect fraud.