DATA BREACH: What can I do if I shopped at Target? - KMSP-TV

TARGET BREACH: 4 ways to protect yourself

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Target Corp. confirmed a data breach may have affected 40 million credit and debit card accounts used in Target stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013.


1. Check your accounts

If you shopped at a Target store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, you should check your account for any suspicious or unusual activity. If you see something that appears fraudulent, REDcard holders should contact Target, others should contact their bank.

2. Contact Target

Customers who suspect unauthorized activity should contact Target at 866-852-8680.

3. Contact the FTC

You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission or police to report incidents of identity theft or to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft. Visit or call the FTC at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338) for more information.

4. Get a new card

If you would feel more comfortable, you can request a replacement card from your credit card provider for all card accounts you've used at Target.


1. Were online purchases made at part of the breach?

No. The website is not believed to have been affected.

2. Is the breach only an issue for Target REDcard holders?

No. The breach potentially involves other credit card account types.

3. How was private data collected?

It is believed the compromised information was collected using the magnetic strip on the back of a shopper's credit card.

4. Is this Target's fault?

Not necessarily, though the roots of the breach have yet to be determined. It's possible the breach could be a result of a compromise of the credit card processor Target uses, computer forensic services expert Mark Lanterman said.

5. What data can be collected from a credit card strip?

Account number, first and last name of cardholder, expiration date of card, sometimes the PIN or CVV number.

6. What happens to that data once it's collected?

The collected information can be used to create a new card to be used at point-of-sale locations that don't require a second form of identification. They're often used to buy gas but can also be used at self check-out stations at grocery stores and other venues, Lanterman said.

7. Do I know if I'm a victim right away?

It's too soon to tell. Sometimes, thieves can hold onto your information for months and use it once you've forgotten about the breach. Continue to monitor your statements.
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