If you’re among the 40 million customers that shopped at Target from November 27 – December 15, 2013, you probably have a lot of questions about identity protection. If you’re looking to learn more about how to keep your personal information safe, here is some information we pulled together just for you.
What are the chances my information was compromised?
Carefully check your credit card activity for any unauthorized transactions. If your statement looks normal and there is no suspicious activity listed, check back on it in a few days. Make it a habit to check your statements regularly – at least once every couple of days – to make sure no odd transactions pop up. This is a good opportunity to check your credit report for any unusual activity or unfamiliar information.
What should I do if I find a transaction I didn’t authorize?
If you find a transaction that you didn’t authorize, you might be the victim of ID theft. First, immediately call the customer service number on the card to determine how you should handle your account. Next, contact the credit bureaus and report the suspicious activity so that a fraud alert can be listed on your credit file. When you contact the credit bureaus, you can request a copy of your credit report to review for signs of identity theft. Be sure to keep a detailed list of any companies you contact and keep your paperwork well organized.
Is it a good idea to close my credit card?
If your credit card was compromised, ask your issuer if they plan to close the card with the fraudulent activity and send you a new one in its place. If you don’t believe your card was compromised, you may want to think twice before canceling your card. Instead, consider asking your credit card company if they use alerts to communicate unusual activity.
Does free help in these situations?
Individual transactions don’t appear on a credit report, however the request of new lines or increased lines of credit do. If you have a free membership, you should receive alerts when a creditor has reviewed your report as part of the credit approval process or when new lines of credit have been opened in your name. If activity listed on your credit report wasn’t authorized, you can contact us and we can help you through the process of resolving the issue.
How can I prevent identity theft?
While the Target data breach brought attention to a very serious crime, there are several simple steps every consumer can take to prevent identity theft – now and in the future. Be very cautious before giving your personal information to anyone – especially a stranger. And always safeguard your credit, debit and identification cards.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.