Target offers one free year of credit monitoring, in wake of massive data breach; Miller also warns of potential for additional scams
(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller urged Iowans who have shopped at Target stores or through the company’s website to seek free credit monitoring, offered by Target for one year, following the massive data breach the retailer disclosed last month.
“I strongly encourage Target customers to take advantage of the free monitoring, regardless of whether they’ve identified suspicious activity in their personal accounts,” Miller said.
“Consumers who shopped at any Target store from November 27 through December 15 using any credit or debit card should take the proactive steps of changing their PINs and passwords,” Miller said. “It can be a hassle, but it’s important for consumers to make it harder for criminals to use any stolen personal financial information.”
Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring not only to those customers who had information compromised in the data breach, but to all Target customers.
Miller urges Target retail customers affected by the breach to carefully review account statements for unauthorized charges and to monitor their credit reports for anything unusual.
Target Discloses Wider Breach
On Friday, Target disclosed that criminal hackers stole personal information from as many as 70 million customers as part of a data breach it discovered last month. The stolen data included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for up to 70 million people.
On December 19, Target reported a data breach involving the payment card information of 40 million retail customers, which had been obtained between November 27 and December 15. The stolen information included credit and debit card data, customer names and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).
“Our office has had ongoing discussions with Target, other state attorneys general, and the appropriate federal agencies to ensure that consumers receive all the protections they deserve in the wake of this enormous data breach,” Miller said.
Target Provides One Year Free Credit Monitoring for Customers
Consumers should contact Target directly. The free credit monitoring is offered through Experian’s ProtectMyID, and the service provides a copy of a credit report, daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance (except where prohibited by law) and access to personalized assistance from a fraud resolution agent.
Target has provided the following information for consumers looking to take advantage of this program:
- Consumers who shopped in U.S. stores may request an activation code by entering their name and email address at creditmonitoring.target.com before April 23, 2014.
- Consumers will then receive an email from Target within one to five days that will include the unique activation code and instructions on how to register the code with ProtectMyID.
- Consumers will have until April 30, 2014, to register their code with ProtectMyID.
- Emails collected during the process of creating activation codes will only be used for the purpose of sending an activation code to enroll in free credit monitoring.
Miller also reminds consumers that they are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus. Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com, call toll-free at 1-877-322-8228, or write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348. Beware of "look-alike" websites that charge you for your credit report.
Additional Potential for Scams Related to Target Breach
Criminals have reportedly tried to take advantage of the Target breach through emails and phone calls. Consumers have been directed to look-alike websites in attempts to elicit personal financial information or install computer viruses. In some cases, criminals have reportedly notified consumers that their accounts have been suspended until they can “verify” personal financial information over the phone.
“Consumers should not provide personal information based on an email or phone call, even if it looks or sounds legitimate,” Miller said. “If there’s a question or concern, consumers should use the number on Target’s website or on their Target bill. Iowans can always contact our Consumer Protection Division if they have a question or complaint.”
Consumer Questions or Concerns: Contact Target or Iowa Consumer Protection Division
Consumers with questions are encouraged to contact Target directly.
Iowans can also contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division:
Phone: 515-281-5926, or toll-free 1-888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines area)