Better Business Bureau has some suggestions for Target customers who are concerned that their credit or debit cards may have been compromised by the data breach announced by the retailer last week.
"First of all, if you used a credit card at Target in the past few weeks, don’t panic," advises Jody Thomas, Vice President of Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland. "You are not liable for any fraudulent charges on your account, and there are some simple things you can do to make sure your card was not used fraudulently."
"Target has already issued a warning for consumers and is working with banks and credit card issuers to alert them to which numbers were stolen," Thomas added. "You can expect to hear from your bank if your card information is identified as having been compromised, and you can always call the customer service number on your card if you have a question."
BBB suggests the following advice.
For those who shopped at Target with a credit card:
Monitor your credit card statements carefully (go online; don’t wait for the paper statement).
If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued.
Keep receipts in case you need to prove which charges you authorized and which ones you did not.
For those who shopped at Target with a debit card:
Do all of the above as for credit cards, but pay very careful attention to your account, as debit cards do not have the same protections as credit cards and debit transactions withdraw funds directly from your bank account. Contact your bank for more information, or if you want to pre-emptively request a new debit card or put a security block on your account.
For EVERYONE, not just those who shopped at Target:
Beware of scammers who will likely use this highly public event to purport to be from Target, your bank or your credit card issuer, telling you that your card was compromised and suggesting actions to "fix" the problem.
Check before you click. Phishing emails may attempt to fool you into providing your credit card information or ask you to click on a link or open an attachment, which can download malware designed to steal your identity.
Don’t click on any email links or attachments unless you are absolutely certain the sender is authentic.
For all businesses that collect customer information:
Make sure you protect your customers’ data. If a data breach can happen to a major retailer with significant data security measures in place, it can happen to any business.
Check out BBB’s updated online guide Data Security – Made Simpler for free information on how to create a data security plan.