December 20, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. –Attorney General Chris Koster today warned Missourians who shopped at a Target retail store between November 27 and December 15 to closely monitor their financial accounts for unauthorized activity. The warning follows an announcement from Target of a data breach effecting up to 40 million customers who made in-store purchases during the time period using a credit or debit card. According to the company, customer names, credit or debit card numbers, card expiration dates, and 3-digit CVV security codes were compromised in the breach.
"Consumers should diligently monitor any accounts used at Target during this time period, alert their banking institution if traveling for the holidays to other states to avoid suspicion of unauthorized activity, and carry alternate means of payment," said Koster. "Impacted cards could become unusable. We don't want people traveling during the holidays to be unable to access their money."
Koster encouraged consumers to contact their bank or credit card issuer for guidance, especially if they are planning to travel. He also advised consumers to have alternative methods of payment available to them, particularly if a card they used at Target between November 27 and December 15 is their primary method of making purchases.
Koster said consumers should check their account statements regularly and report suspicious activity to their card issuer immediately. Consumers who notice unauthorized charges should notify the credit reporting bureaus and file a complaint with the Attorney General's office by phone at 800-392-8222 or online.
Additionally, consumers who spot fraudulent charges can place a fraud alert on all three of their credit reports by requesting an alert from any one of the three credit reporting bureaus:
A fraud alert will notify any creditor that requests your credit report that you suspect you are a victim of fraud or identity theft.
Koster said his office will work with Target to review the nature of the breach and the plans the company has to address it. However, he stressed that the most important issue now is for consumers to monitor their accounts regularly and respond swiftly if they spot fraud.
"Stolen credit or debit card numbers can be traded on the black market for years, so consumers need to remain vigilant with account statements and credit reports looking for signs of fraud and identity theft," added Koster.
Missourians are eligible for one free credit report annually from each of the three largest credit reporting bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
More information on the Target data breach is available from the company at https://corporate.target.com/discover/article/Important-Notice-Unauthorized-access-to-payment-ca?intc=importantguestinfo or by calling the company's customer help line at 866-852-8680.