CONSUMER ALERT: DILIGENTLY MONITOR CREDIT AND BANK ACCOUNTS

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December 27, 2013


LITTLE ROCK – With Target’s recent announcement of a security breach that affected millions of its customers, Arkansas consumers are justifiably concerned about the impact of the breach.

Target said last week that hackers stole the names, card numbers, expiration dates and other security information from more than 40 million credit cards or debit cards used by consumers at its stores. Affected consumers were those who paid by credit card or debit card at the retailer’s U.S. stores from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel earlier this week launched an investigation into the Target breach. Meanwhile, McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to offer advice to Arkansas consumers who believe their accounts may have been compromised.

“We hope to be able to determine what Arkansas consumers were affected and what their recourse might be as part of this investigation. In the meantime, consumers should diligently monitor their bank statements and credit-card bills for unusual activity,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel encouraged consumers to routinely review account statements, regardless of whether they believe they were impacted by the Target breach. Everyday diligence is the best way to detect suspicious activity that would indicate financial fraud or identity theft.

All consumers should:

 

  • Review bank and credit-card statements regularly. Any unauthorized charges should be reported to account providers.
  • Make sure information on credit reports is accurate. All consumers may receive one free copy of their credit reports per year from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. By monitoring credit reports, consumers can make sure their credit history is accurate and determine whether any unauthorized accounts have been opened in their names. Consumers have the right to remove inaccurate or outdated entries from credit reports. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com  to obtain a free annual credit report.

Consumers who shopped at Target and discovered unauthorized charges on their credit-card or bank statements should notify credit-card issuers or their banks. Consumers will not be responsible for the fraudulent charges. Those consumers, though, should request a replacement card immediately.

Meanwhile, McDaniel joined the Federal Trade Commission in warning consumers about con artists who may engage in scams related to the Target breach. Scammers may send emails purporting to be from the retailer in attempts to gain personal or financial information.

Consumers should ignore and delete emails in which an entity asks for personal financial information – such as a credit-card number that was possibly involved in the breach – through email. Legitimate businesses will not ask for sensitive personal or financial information through email.

Also, do not click on links in emails from unknown sources, even if at first glance the links may look legitimate. Clicking on a link could cause a virus or malicious software to be installed on an electronic device or direct consumers to websites created to steal data.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division website offers tips, tools and resources to consumers regarding identity theft and safety of personal information. Visit www.GotYourBackArkansas.org/identity to learn more about protecting financial and personal data. The site also provides information about how identity theft victims can receive an “Identity Theft Passport” from the Attorney General’s Office.  The passport can be used as an additional form of identification for ID theft victims.

The Consumer Protection Division’s hotline is (800) 482-8982.
 

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