Monday, January 6, 2014

The Target Data Breach. What to do if You're a Victim

The Target Data Breach. What to do if You're a Victim

By Keith Bunn Jr.
January 6, 2014

The Happy Beginning of a New Year... or is It?

First off, I just want to say that I hope you all started this New Year off on the right foot! 
Unfortunately, I know that some of you didn't. Because a Facebook follower asked me about the Target data breach issue that happened late last year. I asked if I could answer their question on here and the said, yes. So let's get started.

Target's Data Breach

As we've all heard on the news, the large retailer, Target, had a massive data breach of their customer's info. This breach started on Nov. 27, 2013 and lasted until Dec. 15, 2013. The data that was stolen was of about 40 million credit and debit cards used by customers, on and in between the dates mentioned. And now, we've also just learned that the encrypted pin numbers to the customer's debit cards were also taken, but Target officials says, that it is highly unlikely the encryption can be broken.

Right now, the Who, Where, and Why this happened isn't really important. If you're a victim, what's important right now is, What should you do if you find out your information was taken at this time.

The Difference Between Credit Cards and Debit Cards

Before we get started on what you need to do, you need to know where you stand on this breach. The myth floating around out there is that credit cards are more safe than debit cards, that's not 100% true. If a debit card is used the same way a credit card is used, it has the very same I.D. theft protection as a credit card does and you should have very little issue getting this matter cleared up, once you prove you are one of the 40 million victims and provided a bunch of documentation to creditors.

Now, if you use a debit card as a debit card, meaning you put your pin number in the card swipe machine, that's different, and you are not protected by the same I.D. theft protection policy as credit cards are. So if you used your debit card at Target on those dates, but you haven't seen any suspicious activity on your accounts, more than likely you're safe. If later you have some issues or you want to make double sure you're safe anyway, you can always call up your bank and cancel your debit cards and get issued new ones. It's a bit of a hassle waiting on new cards, but at least you know you're safe.

What to do if You Are a Victim

If you discover that your information was stolen, the first thing you need to do is place a temporary fraud victim alert on your credit bureau reports and you can do that for free online at the following links... Experian, Equifax, & Transunion.

The next thing you need to do is call the police and get a police report. When you get a copy of the police report, you need to give each of the credit bureaus a copy, that will make the temporary fraud victim alert permanent. If you don’t give them a copy, the fraud victim alert will only stay on your credit bureau 90 days.

The next thing you need to do is call the fraud victim division of all the creditors where your stolen I.D. was used at and provide them with all the information you have, including a copy of the police report showing that your I.D. has been stolen. Now these creditors may act like you are trying to get out of paying a bill, so don’t let them pressure you into paying something you don’t owe.

You Now Have a New Hobby

The bad thing is, there isn't anything you can do to 100% prevent I.D. theft from happening to you. If you've had your I.D. stolen, you now have a new hobby. On average, it takes people who have had their I.D. stolen, 600 hours to clean up this kind of mess. In 2008 alone, 15 million people had their identity stolen. Identity theft is the number one Blue Collar crime in the U.S to date and it's growing each year. So this is a big deal. 

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