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Targeted? 4 steps to take right away

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Capital Region shoppers can count themselves as targets, so to speak, if they shopped at Target stores between November 27 and December 15. A sophisticated ring of credit card criminals now possess the financial data of a good chunk of the country. Millions of people are dealing with the possibility that their personal information, including their names, credit and debit card numbers might have been stolen in the recently uncovered cyber breach.

If you shopped at Target:

While Target and law enforcement investigate the most current breach, here is what Target customers should do:

  1. Check your statement. Did you shop at Target during this period? Check your statements carefully. Look for any purchases – large or small – that you haven't made. Go through your other statements as well; with your name and credit card number. Thieves can gain access to other accounts easily or even open new loans in your name.
  2. Call your credit card company and bank. Even if everything seems fine on your statement, you should still call your bank to alert them that your card may be vulnerable. While most banks tend to charge for fraud monitoring services, in circumstances where a security breach has occurred, they will monitor your account at no charge. If your identity was stolen, the bank will launch an investigation and return your money.
  3. Stop the bleeding by calling one of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. It doesn't matter which one, as each is required to inform the other two of potential identity theft. By calling them, you will place an 90 day fraud alert on your report. This alert will make it harder for anyone to open new accounts using your information. If your account has actually been hacked, you should also considerfreezing your credit report.
  4. Enroll today in an identity protection program. Dedicated companies, for a small fee, will monitor discrepencies in your credit cards and protect your identity. Not on an expensive, per-card system, but on a complete monitoring of your credit program.

Being proactive can assist Capital Region families from being damaged in this nationwide security breach.

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