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Free Credit Monitoring Following Target Breach

Written By: Renata Stiehl
Free Credit Monitoring Following Target Breach

      ALBANY, NY (WENY) -- New York's attorney general is urging those who shopped at Target to take advantage of free credit monitoring, after a massive data breach.
     Eric Schneiderman says anyone who has ever shopped at Target is eligible for the free service for a full year. The A.G.'s office demanded the credit monitoring last month, after the retailer admitted tens of millions of customers may have had their credit and debit card information stolen.
     Just last week, Target also admitted millions more customers may have been affected than originally reported, and more information may have been compromised, including email addresses, home addresses and telephone numbers.
     
Starting today, you can register for free credit monitoring at https://creditmonitoring.target.com/.

The following information was provided by the AG's Office:

Target has provided the following information for consumers looking to take advantage of this program:

  • Consumers who shopped at Target in the U.S. may request an activation code by entering their name and email address at creditmonitoring.target.com before April 23, 2014.
     
  • Consumers will then receive an email from Target within one to five days that will include the unique activation code and instructions on how to register the code with ProtectMyID.
     
  • Consumers will have until April 30, 2014, to register their code with ProtectMyID.
     
  • Emails collected during the process of creating activation codes will be used only for the purpose of sending an activation code to enroll in free credit monitoring.

Consumers with questions are encouraged to visit target.com/databreach or to contact Target directly at 866-852-8680.

Last month, Attorney General Schneiderman issued consumer protection tips to help New Yorkers prevent identity theft. For consumers who are or might be victims of identity fraud as a result of a data security breach at any retailer – including Target and others – the Attorney General has also provided the following list of tips:

If you are a victim:

  • Create an identity theft fraud report. To do this, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and print your Identity Theft Affidavit. You can call the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 or click here.
     
  • Use that affidavit to file a police report and create your Identity Theft Report. 
     
  • An Identity Theft Report will help you deal with credit reporting companies, debt collectors and any fraudulent accounts that the identity thief opened in your name.
     
  • Put a freeze on your credit report by notifying each of the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion or Experian). This will block someone from obtaining credit using your name or personal information. You won’t be able to apply for any new credit cards or loans while the freeze is in effect, but you can continue to use your existing cards. To freeze your credit file, you must notify each of the three major credit bureaus. You can remove the freeze temporarily or permanently by contacting each of the three agencies. There is no fee if you have been the victim of identity theft. The freeze can be removed only by you. 
     
  • Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies. You are entitled to free reports once you post a fraud alert (see below) or put a freeze on your account. Read the reports carefully to see whether other fraudulent transactions or accounts are listed, and then take steps to correct those errors.
     
  • Check your credit card account frequently to look for any irregular activity.

If you might be a victim:

  • Report to any of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Transunion or Experian) that you may have been a victim of identity theft. Make sure the credit reporting agency has your current contact information so it can get in contact with you. 
     
  • Ask the credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on your credit file. This will still allow you to use your credit card. If you put a fraud alert on your file, you may ask for a free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies. Contacting any one of the three credit reporting agencies listed above is enough to file a credit alert with all of them. A credit alert must be renewed every 90 days.
     
  • You also have a right to put a credit freeze on your file. You may be charged a fee of up to $5 if you have not been a victim of identity theft.
     
  • You should also check your credit activity regularly with each credit issuer. You don’t need to wait for your monthly statement, though you should check that as well. Many banks provide online information to account holders about recent activity.

The contact information for the credit reporting agencies:

  • Equifax
    1-800-525-6285
     
  • Experian
    1-888-397-3742
     
  • TransUnion
    1-800-680-7289