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40 Million Credit Cards Stolen From Target

Posted December 19, 2013, 06:13 PM HST
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The Hilo Target store. File photo.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs today urged Hawaii residents to take precautions following news of a security breach involving the use of credit cards at Target stores.

Target’s website reported today that computer hackers obtained credit and debit card information from purchases made at company stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

The cyber breach may have involved access to payment card data including customer names, credit or debit card numbers, the card’s expiration date and its three-digit security code, also known as the Card Verification Value.

According to the latest estimates, information on up to 40 million credit and debit cards may have been stolen.

Only in-store purchases are involved; online business was apparently not affected.

DCCA officials said they have asked Target to provide information as to how many Hawaii residents may have been affected by the breach.

Anyone who believes they may be affected and have questions can call Target toll-free at 1-866-852-8680 or visit Target’s company website.

“Target has advised its customers that if you used a non-Target credit or debit card at a Target store between Nov. 27, 2013 and Dec. 15, 2013, and have questions about activity on your card, please contact the issuing bank by calling the number on the back of your card,” the DCCA said in a statement.

Target card holders are to contact Target directly.

“This is a very serious breach affecting a significant number of people,” said Bruce Kim, executive director of the DCCA’s Office of Consumer Protection.

“Any Hawaii residents who believe they may be at risk because of this incident are urged to take immediate steps to protect their personal credit information as well unauthorized access to their credit or debit card accounts,” Kim said. “It is critical for those affected to use the contact information provided by Target and get current information on what they can do to protect themselves.”

The DCCA said typical signs of identity theft include:

  • Unauthorized charges on your credit card
  • Receiving credit cards that you did not seek
  • Missing credit card bills
  • Calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise you did not buy or services you did not authorize
  • Being denied credit or offered credit at less favorable terms for no apparent reason
  • Unauthorized credit cards or charges on your credit report

The agency also offered the following tips for protection following a security breach:

  • Contact your creditors, including credit card companies, banks, and other lenders, to determine whether there is any suspicious or unauthorized activity that has occurred on your accounts.
  • Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Order it and review it for problems.
  • Contact any of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert does not block potential new credit, but places a comment on your history.

The DCCA said creditors should contact you prior to opening a new account. You only need to contact one of the three companies because that company is required to contact the other two.

Once you place a fraud alert on your file, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. The credit reporting agencies will send you a letter telling you how to order your free report. When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully and look for any suspicious activity.

All consumers can obtain a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies, regardless of whether they have been identity theft victims. Call 1-877-322-8228 or request one online at www.annualcreditreport.com.  You can request a report from one of the reporting companies every four months and carefully review this report for suspicious activity.

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