Take 4 steps to protect your identity after Target data breach

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear, Target, the large Minneapolis retail store, reported about 40 million credit and debit card accounts  were hacked.

Customers who bought things  in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may affected. Stolen info includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes on the backs of cards. The data breach did not affect online purchases.

All debit and credit cards, including Target store brand cards and major card brands such as Visa and MasterCard, were stolen.computer hacker 150x150 How to Protect Yourself After a Hacking Attack

This is only the latest of many recent hacks. With customer data breaches becoming increasingly common, what should you do to protect yourself? Start with our tips below:

Protecting Yourself from Hacking:   

The best way to safeguard your personal information is by creating strong passwords (see Microsoft’s tips here) and using a unique password for each website.

What to Do After a Hack:
It happens. Even the most conscientious businesses get hacked. If a company with which you’ve done business suffered a security breach, follow the tips below to protect yourself.

  • Change your password on the affected website — and anywhere else you use it. Many web users have a rotation of passwords they use, so be sure to change yours on all websites.
  • Be extra suspicious of any emails coming from the business that was hacked — especially ones containing links or attachments. Scammers often use the personal information they’ve obtained along with the hacked business’ name to trick customers into sharing credit card or banking info.
  • However, affected business do often communicate with customers after the hack. Be sure these emails are real by hovering over the links in the message. When you do this, the link destination should appear in a pop up box or in the lower left hand corner of your browser.
  • Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank accounts. If hackers have access to your personal data, identity theft is a risk. Call your bank or credit card company immediately if you see any unexpected activity.


Filed under Scam alert

4 responses to “Take 4 steps to protect your identity after Target data breach

  1. Mark Burrows

    Here is what I have done. I have separate bank accounts and credit cards for specific shopping. For example, I prefer to use debit cards as a priority, the account for my debit card only has what I put into it, that way, I not only protect my overall bank balance from being zinged, but it also is a good discipline to keep my spending habits down to a limit.
    I have done the same with credit cards. I keep them at the lowest possible credit allowance. This of course drives the credit card companies crazy as they keep sending me letters offering to bump up my limit, but I refuse.
    I use one card for online purchase if they do not accept PayPal, which I also keep at a low amount, if there is something I want, I can wait the time it takes to upgrade my PayPal account with the necessary funds for the purchase. Then my other credit card I use for local purposes at the end of the month when I rather not deplete my safety net of funds. Then when my next pay period comes I pay everything up in full. No interest, and I am mostly ahead of the game. It is just all of the created fees that every financial institute and every other weasel out there that uses fees as an aggregate profiteering scheme. Even my corner convenience store nails me every time I use my debit card a fee to cover costs for paper, ink, and maintenance of the equipment that the financial institute provided, and of course charges them the fee for the privilege to accept debit card because it is good for business.
    Yet, it seems so strange that when we ask our governments to look into anti fee laws, they gives us the ol’ political smile and promise to get right on that, as you walk away feeling that you have less change in your pocket than before you sent your email to your party representative.
    You have to remember, that each account you have, is like a safe upon itself. These scam operators might be able to hack one account, but they are not able to hack all of your accounts. That only happens in Hollywood and fiction novels.
    There is wisdom in the old saying, “Don’t put all of your eggs in the same basket.”

    Mark Burrows

  2. Few days ago data breached at Target Stores, above steps should be kept in mind to escape breaches like that.

  3. Mark Burrows

    Well, at least I’m safe, they just built the Target Store in my area and it’s not due to open until February 2014. They started the project in the latter months of 2012, I sent them an email telling them it would be smart to have it up and running before Christmas 2013, well they didn’t. They lucked out.

  4. Pingback: Hackers looking to target all credit accounts, not just Target | snakeriverBBB

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