The massive data breach from national retailer Target may have affected even more North Carolina consumers. If you’ve shopped at Target in recent weeks, please take steps immediately to protect your personal information and avoid fraud.
Target first announced the security breach last month, estimating that about 40 million consumers’ credit and debit card accounts had been stolen during the peak of holiday shopping, including 1.2 million accounts used by consumers in North Carolina. Target now says that phone numbers and email and mailing addresses for as many as 70 million consumers may have also been stolen nationally. Attorney General Cooper and other state attorneys general are investigating the Target breach.
Having this kind of personal information stolen puts you at greater risk for identity theft, telemarketing fraud, phishing and other types of scams. 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 the credit bureaus, and should consider a security freeze for maximum protection.
Consider free credit monitoring. Target has announced that it will provide one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to anyone who has shopped at a U.S. Target store. You can learn more and register for this offer at creditmonitoring.target.com.
Be on guard for calls, emails, texts or social media posts seeking your personal information or money. Scammers may pretend to be with your bank, utility, legitimate companies or government agencies, and if they already have some of your personal information they can seem more convincing. Do not fall for it.
For more tips on protecting yourself from crimes and scams, visit www.ncdoj.gov.
This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.