BUFFALO — The Better Business Bureau has advice for Target customers who are concerned that their credit or debit cards may have been compromised by the data breach announced by the retailer this week.
“If you used a credit card at Target in the past few weeks, don’t panic,” advises Warren Clark, president of the Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York.
“You are not liable for any fraudulent charges on your account, and there are some simple things you can do to make sure your card was not used fraudulently.
“Target has issued a warning for consumers and is working with banks and credit-card issuers to alert them to which numbers were stolen,” he added. “You can expect to hear from your bank if your card information is identified as having been compromised, and you can always call the customer service number on your card if you have a question.”
BBB suggests the following advice.
For those who shopped at Target with a credit card:
▶ Monitor your credit card statements carefully (go online; don’t wait for the paper statement).
▶ Report a fraudulent charge to your bank or credit card issuer immediately so it can be reversed and a new card issued.
▶ Keep receipts in case you need to prove which charges you authorized and which ones you did not.
The same tips go for those who shopped at Target with a debit card, but they also should “pay very careful attention to (their) account, as debit cards do not have the same protections as credit cards and debit transactions withdraw funds directly from your bank account.
“Contact your bank for more information,” the Business Bureau said.
“You can preemptively request a new debit card or put a security block on your account.”
‘DON’T CLICK LINKS’
Everyone, the Better Business Bureau advised, “should be beware of scammers who will likely use this highly public event to purport to be from Target, your bank or your credit card issuer, telling you that your card was compromised and suggesting actions to “fix” the problem.”
So, it says:
▶ Check before you click. Phishing emails may try to fool you into giving your credit-card information or ask you to click on a link or open an attachment that can download malware designed to steal your identity.
“Don’t click on any email links or attachments unless you are absolutely certain the sender is authentic.”
▶ Contact any financial companies affected by the Target data breach, and if your bank, credit-card or investment accounts are affected, immediately request that the account be closed and a new one opened.
▶ Consider filing a fraud alert with all three credit reporting agencies, which are then required by law to flag your credit report for 90 days.
“Then if someone tries to open a new account using your information, you should be contacted for verification.”
▶ Sign on for any free credit-report monitoring that’s offered — If Target offers one, take advantage of it.
• It’s important to monitor any breach of data for two years or longer.
“The bad guys understand that the data is hot for a year or so. Experts note it’s not unusual for crooks to wait to delay use of stolen data.”
The best way to check a credit report is through AnnualCreditReport.com, a service sponsored by the three nationwide credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and Transunion, the Better Business Bureau said. Others may have hidden fees.
Learn more at bbb.org.