At this point, most of us had heard about major retailer, Target, reporting its stores have experienced a huge breach of credit and debit card accounts involving up to 40 million customers. The theft occurred Thanksgiving week on Nov. 27, and continued until Dec. 15. That’s a lengthy period of time and quite opportunistic considering that holiday shopping was largely underway. The breach affected in-store, not online customers. Personal customer data was extracted from the information stored on the magnetic stripe on the backs of cards used at nearly all of Target’s stores around the country. The data stolen would allow thieves to create counterfeit credit cards, and any pin numbers obtained will also allow fraudsters to withdraw cash from ATM machines.
So, what do we do now?
As mentioned in previous CardTrak articles regarding our credit and bank accounts: review and report. Take the time to read over your bank and payment card statements on a regular basis. It is worth the effort. Always use a bit of scrutiny in order to identify any suspicious charges. Save sale’s receipts whether they are paper or online, especially for major purchases, and keep on file for several months. If you suspect you may be a victim of fraud, contact your creditor and/or bank to report the loss. Most credit card companies will take care of any loss if you report it within 60 days.
The end of the year is a great time for everyone to review their credit reports in order to begin the New Year on solid financial footing. With the current rise in concern over payment card fraud, we definitely advise everyone to get their free credit reports. As we have entered the final shopping week before Christmas, it has become more frenzied and folks are scouring the stores for last-minute gifts. Everyone needs to be on their guard, especially at this time, with each swipe of their card.