Consumers at risk from data breach should sign up for free credit monitoring


By Carolyn A. Tyler
Special to The SUN

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is urging victims of Target Corporation’s (NYSE: TGT) consumer data breach to sign up for the company’s sponsored free credit monitoring services. Consumers are also encouraged to vigilantly monitor their credit and debit card statements for unauthorized activity.

“Colorado consumers should take extra care in light of this massive data breach to review bank and credit card statements, utility and other bills, to quickly spot any unauthorized charges, said Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection Jan Zavislan. “One of the best ways for consumers to protect themselves is to monitor activity on their credit reports.”

Initially, Target announced it incurred a data breach that impacted approximately 40 million consumers who shopped at their U.S. retail stores and used a credit card or debit card between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013. Compromised data included customer name, credit or debit card number, the card’s expiration date, CVV information (although not the three digit CVV2 codes on the back of cards), and encrypted PIN numbers.

Subsequently, Target confirmed that the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and/or email addresses for up to 70 million of its customers were also compromised.  This breach may have affected consumers who provided such contact information to Target, even if they did not make purchases at Target stores with a credit or debit card between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013. Given contact information was compromised, consumers may become targets for telemarketing fraud, phishing, and other types of scams.

Consumers should sign up for Target-sponsored free credit monitoring services at by April 23, and review the company’s frequently asked questions to learn more. In addition, Target shoppers should be wary of unsolicited emails regarding their Target accounts. Many of these emails are phishing scams designed to steal even more of the consumers’ personal and financial information. If people find that they have been victimized, they should follow the steps outlined in the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Repair Kit.