Target Breach: Scammers Target Consumers in Aftermath of Credit Card Hack

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Since the massive Target payment processing breach, Americans have been told to keep a vigilant eye on their credit and debit card accounts, as well as their credit report. But a recent Google Consumer Survey conducted by TransUnion revealed that one-third (32.7%) of Americans surveyed said they have never checked their credit report or credit score.

Another quarter (24.6%) of those surveyed said they had not checked their credit report or credit score within the past year.

A review of your credit report with any one of the major credit agencies -- Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion -- can allow you to:

  • Place a fraud warning on your account to encourage creditors to remain vigilant for signs of credit deception when reviewing your file.
  • Stay on top of your credit score and see what lenders know about you.
  • Identify and correct errors and misinformation.
  • Track your credit history.
  • Receive email alerts from all three credit reporting companies that can help warn you of possible identity theft.
  • Find out what rates you can expect to be offered by lenders.
  • Watch your progress over time with trending reports.

Some credit agencies also offer identity theft insurance to help you through a potential financial crisis if your credit card data has been hacked.

Target warns consumers of scams

Target now confirms that the security breach was caused by malware that impacted their point-of-sale system.

"We can confirm that we are actively partnering with the United States Secret Service and the Department of Justice on the ongoing investigation into the malware that affected Target's point-of-sale system in our U.S. stores," a statement posted on the Target website said. "Due to the nature of the investigation, the Secret Service has asked not to share many of the details of the forensics and investigation."

The nation's second-largest discount chain claims to have communicated to 17 million customers via email, warning consumers to "be wary of calls or email scams that may appear to offer protection but are really trying to get personal information from you."

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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