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« Michelin Recalls 1.3M Tires for Trucks, Vans, RVs | Main | Target’s ‘Free Credit Report’ Offer Isn’t Anything Special »

Worried About Target Hacking? How to Check for Potential Fraud

Retail giant Target experienced a massive security breach involving stolen credit card and debit card information for 40 million of its in-store customers. If you made an in-store purchase with a debit or credit card at a Target store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, your account may be compromised. Target urges all affected customers be vigilant in protecting their personal information.

Here are five signs of fraud and identity theft to look for:

  1. Your credit card bills are late.
  2. You get credit cards for an account you didn't open.
  3. You get denied a credit card, even though you think your credit history should have qualified you for it.
  4. You get a call about a purchase you didn't make.
  5. You don't recognize withdrawals or charges on your statement.

Steps You Can Take

If you're one of the many Target customers affected by the breach, look into the following steps to protect yourself against debit or credit card fraud:

  • Carefully monitor your financial statements and account activity. Look for inquiries from companies you didn't contact, accounts you didn't open, debts you can't explain, and inaccurate personal information. If you discover any suspicious or unusual activity on your accounts or suspect fraud, immediately report it to your financial institutions. REDcard holders should contact Target, others should contact their bank.
  • Get fraud alerts on your credit report. In addition to card-related fraud alerts, consider calling one of the three nationwide credit-reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion -- to add fraud alerts to your credit report. Such alerts can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you, but it also may delay your ability to obtain credit.
  • Place a security freeze on your credit report. Contact one of the above listed agencies regarding if and how you may place a security freeze on your credit report. Doing so can prohibit a credit-reporting agency from releasing information from your credit report without your prior written authorization.

For more help, check out FindLaw's free Mini-Guide to Online Fraud and Identity Theft.

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