If you shopped at a Target Store between November 27 and December 15, you could be at risk for credit/debit card fraud. As many as 40 million credit and debit card numbers were hacked.
Authorities are still trying to figure out how it happened but suspect that the criminals were sophisticated and may have planted a virus in the Target system. Another theory is that it could have been an inside job. According to the Today Show, Target has hired a third party forensic firm to prevent it from happening again.
The thieves stole all the information on the cards' magnetic strips, including full names, card numbers, expiration dates and even security codes. According to Target, the issue has been resolved.
What should you do if you shopped at Target these past few weeks?
- Keep an eye on your card activity.
- Call to dispute fraudulent charges.
- To be extra safe, cancel your card and get a new number.
- Ask a credit reporting agency to place a fraud alert on your file.
Fortunately, the magnetic strip on the back of your card does not have your social security number or your address. Experts says that information thieves would need to actually open accounts in your name and impersonate you; therefore, the risk of total identity theft is fairly slim.
Other ways to protect yourself include:
- Use cash.
- Use a credit card vs. a debit card; that way charges can be disputed and the money isn't coming directly out of your bank account.
- Monitor your credit report regularly. A free copy can be a obtained once a year.
Source: NBC Today Show
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