Valley financial experts give advice after Target accounts breached

Target says about 40 million shoppers across the country are now at risk after hackers broke in to the retailers checkout systems.
December 19, 2013 2:39:02 PM PST
Target says about 40 million shoppers across the country are now at risk after hackers broke in to the retailers checkout systems. That means thieves may already have access to your finances.

Target said it has fixed the problem but Valley shoppers are already asking questions. Experts say the damage is done though there are a few steps you can take to keep your accounts secure.

"Little scary- especially the fact that I just used my card with my pin number," Shopper Juan Varela said.

Varela had not heard about the data breach and did not know that every Target store across the United States is dealing with one massive headache.

Anyone who shopped at a Target store between November 27th and December 15th is at risk. The chief education officer at Clearpoint Credit Counseling says the first step in determining whether you're a victim is to check your bank statements.

"In most cases if you notify your bank quickly, they'll wave those fraudulent charges all together," Martha Lucey with Clearpoint Credit Counseling said. But she recommends taking it a step further than that.

"Place a fraud alert on their credit report and you can do that for free through the three credit bureaus you can also put a credit freeze in place so no additional credit is extended in your name," Lucey said.

Those three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They'll ask for all of your identifying information. Experts say once there's an alert no one will be able to touch your accounts but you.

As for the damage that's already been done. Martha Lucey said, "with the breach in data specifically in Target's case isn't going to make a difference, they've got all that personally identifiable information so it's not a question of changing your pins, you have to lock down your identity."

Thus far Valley shoppers say it has not scared them away from Target as identity crimes and financial breaches are becoming all too common.

"I just think it's a sign of the times, it's happening everywhere," Shopper Jessica Carranco said.

Target has set up a call center you can reach them at 866-852-8680, but the store is advising that you call your bank.


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