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Target security breach likely organized crime
Target has revealed that its credit and debit (check) card database has been compromised. Affected by this breach are customers who made in-store purchases between November 27 and December 15, 2013.
It took a group of cyber criminals 19 days to steal the personal information of 40 million people from Target's database, but it will take the retailer much longer to recover from the massive theft. The retailer confirmed Thursday that approximately 40 million in-store customers had their information comprised over a nearly three-week period that included the heavily trafficked shopping period surrounding Black Friday.
The value of the stolen personal information could be as much as $800 million depending on the extent of the criminals' underground network. The security breach represents one of the largest at a major retailer since 2007 when criminals stole card numbers and other data from as many as 90 million cards belonging to T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, and other discount chains owned by parent-company TJX.
Target's security breach demonstrates a devastating reality: Practically no consumer is safe from cyber attacks on their personal information. Target's information security group is one of the best in retail, and if a breach of this magnitude can affect them, it can really affect anyone.
Please visit Target’s website for the details they are sharing.
Steps that you may take to protect yourself against potential misuse of your credit and debit information.
You should remain vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by regularly reviewing your account statements and monitoring free credit reports. If you discover any suspicious or unusual activity on your accounts or suspect fraud, be sure to report it immediately to your financial institutions. In addition, you may contact the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) or law enforcement to report incidents of identity theft or to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft. To learn more, you can go to the FTC’s Web site, at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or call the FTC, at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338) or write to Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
You may also periodically obtain credit reports from each nationwide credit reporting agency. If you discover information on your credit report arising from a fraudulent transaction, you should request that the credit reporting agency delete that information from your credit report file. In addition, under federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. You may obtain a free copy of your credit report by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. You may contact the nationwide credit reporting agencies at:
P.O. Box 740241
In addition, you may obtain information from the FTC and the credit reporting agencies about fraud alerts and security freezes. You can add a fraud alert to your credit report file to help protect your credit information. A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you, but it also may delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies listed above. As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two agencies, which then must also place fraud alerts in your file. In addition, you can contact the nationwide credit reporting agencies regarding if and how you may place a security freeze on your credit report to prohibit a credit reporting agency from releasing information from your credit report without your prior written authorization.
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