December 23, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today warned consumers to be cautious in providing personal or financial information over the phone or in response to emails related to the Target credit and debit-card breach, as new reports indicate that fraudsters are trying to trick victims of the breach into giving them more information. Thieves pretending to be from Target or a consumer's bank or credit-card company have been contacting consumers by phone or email and asking for their personal and financial information. The thieves can use this information to steal the consumer’s identity.
Koster reminded consumers that neither Target nor their financial institution would ask for their personal information over the phone or by email. Although the card issuer may call about certain charges on the card to verify they were made by an authorized user, the institution that issued the card will not ask for consumers' personal information. Likewise, consumers may receive informational emails from Target, but the company will not ask the consumers to provide private information in response. Consumers should not reply to any email about the data breach that appears to come from Target or a bank or credit-card company.
"Opportunistic thieves may try to take advantage of those whose personal information has been compromised by the recent data breach," Koster said. "Consumers should be wary when anyone asks for their personal information via telephone or email, as the person on the other end of the line may be trying to steal the consumer’s identity."
Consumers should also continue to be alert as they travel and shop in the coming days. Some card issuers may, without warning, limit the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from an affected card or limit the amount of purchases that can be made on a given day. Consumers should have other forms of payment available when traveling. All questions about the use of a card that might have been compromised should be directed to the issuer of the card.
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.