Attention Target Shoppers: How to Protect Yourself From Another Hack

Posted on 01/06/2014

More than 40 million Target customers found out last month that their credit and debit cards might have been compromised when hackers orchestrated a massive data breach between November 27 and December 15. Names, credit card numbers, security codes and expiration dates were all stolen. Loyal Target shoppers probably won't let this snafu stop them from shopping at the big box store, but there are ways you can protect yourself from another attack.

Check Your Statement Regularly
With online banking you don't have to wait to receive your monthly paper statement to find out if someone is making unauthorized charges on your account. Check your bank statement regularly so you can put a stop to any fraud right away.

Pull Your Credit Report
Each credit reporting company is required by Federal law to give you a free copy of your credit report every year. Take advantage of this freebie to ensure that no one is opening new accounts with information they stole from you. Head to for access.

Initiate a Fraud Alert
If you believe you've been the victim of a data compromise you may want to set up a 90-day Fraud Alert. This puts a red flag on your account that is seen by anyone looking at your credit file. It's a signal that lets credit grantors know you may have been the victim of suspicious activity. When your account has been red flagged creditors should take extra steps to verify the legitimacy of any new credit requests. You can set this up online at

Change Your PIN
If you've had the same PIN, or personal identification number since the Clinton administration it may be time to update it. Call your bank and request a new PIN number which could help deter crooks from using your stolen information.

Request a New Card
Although it can be a hassle if you do a lot of online shopping or automated bill pay, getting a new debit or credit card number may be your best course of action. It will make it impossible for the bad guys to steal your credit if you just start fresh. And if you really want to stay safe, start paying with cash.

By Alison Storm

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