This news item expired on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 so the information below could be outdated or incorrect.
By now you may have heard the news that national retailer Target experienced a massive data breach that could affect approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts.
A data or security breach happens when records containing personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card or bank account numbers, are lost, stolen or accessed improperly.
Just because your information was part of a security breach doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become a victim of fraud or identity theft, but it does put you at greater risk.
To protect yourself:
Check your credit and debit card accounts and report suspicious charges to your bank or credit card company immediately. Also, request a new card with a different number and change any PINs or passwords for the affected account.
Check your credit reports. Once criminals have your personal information, they may use it to open new accounts in your name. Everyone is allowed a free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus. Breach victims can also request a fraud alert from one of credit bureaus, and should consider a security freeze for maximum protection.
Check out our detailed list of tips for what to do after a security breach.
This breach is a good reminder that we all need to watch our accounts for unauthorized charges and monitor our credit, especially during the busy holiday shopping season. For more tips on protecting yourself from crimes and scams, visit www.ncdoj.gov.
This message brought to you on behalf of NC Attorney General Roy Cooper.