Target launches free credit monitoring after latest in dat - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Target launches free credit monitoring after latest in data breach

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Retailer Target is once again, in damage control. The store announced on Friday that an additional seventy million customers might have had their data stolen from December's data breach.

To protect customers, Target is offering one year of free credit protection services to anyone who has shopped at a Target in the U.S. People can register at creditmonitoring.target.com.

The services offered include daily checks of credit and protection from identity theft. Financial experts strongly recommend people who are concerned about being victimized to sign up.

While fraudulent charges are a hassle and can take weeks to resolve with a bank, identity theft can go on for months or even years undetected, and even longer to fix. 

"[Hackers] can build a profile of that person and then use that information to apply for credit in their name. A mortgage in their name," said Jean Chatzky, Financial Editor of the "Today Show." "That's where it really gets off the rails."

But scammers are already popping up, setting up non-Target websites offering aid with the Target logo, trying to further victimize consumers. Those seeking the free service should only register through the corporate website.

While Target's CEO says all malware has been removed and shopping at Target online or in store is safe, some shoppers are still wary.

"My wife said she needed something at Target. And I said to her, 'Well you aren't allowed to use your card, dear, you'll have to use cash,'" said Butch Shafer. "She already had her card compromised and we had to get a new card, a new pin number."

Pat Carlson, another Erie shopper, is still a Target customer, but she said she will be keeping a vigilant eye on her bank accounts. "I like Target, but corporations so big shouldn't have that breach. I think they better get some better techies," she said.

Rob Gibson hasn't shopped at Target in three years, but when he saw a $350 fraudulent charge pop up on his bank account from none other than a Target store in Connecticut, he immediately associated the theft with the store's data breach.

"You're a huge company, you earn millions of dollars, I trusted you with my information, and you let it get stolen," Gibson said. "We can't say for sure if it came from Target or not, but I mean it was like "bam." The Target thing."

While credit card and debit card data was hacked with malware from Target registers across the country between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10th, customers' personal information - including name, email, address, and phone - seemed to be lifted from the retail's databases. These databases save years of customer information.

Financial experts recommend consumers to keep a very careful eye on their bank accounts for suspicious transactions, including penny transfers. The pennies charged or even deposited could indicate a hacker testing the waters on your account.

Customers interested in registering for credit monitoring and identity theft protection can also call Target's hotline at 1-866-852-8680.

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