Consumer Alert: Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection Offer Immediate Steps for Shoppers
Attorney General George Jepsen and state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein today warned Connecticut consumers to take necessary precautions following news of a major data breach at Target stores across the country.
“We are only beginning to understand the implications of this massive, nationwide data breach and the impact it will have on Connecticut consumers,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “Today, I have sent a letter to Target requesting information on this breach, and we will be working to ensure that consumers receive all the protections to which they are entitled in the wake of this breach. In the meantime, consumers should take immediate steps to ensure their personal accounts are secure and report any suspicious or unauthorized activity immediately.”
“If you can check your debit card transactions and credit card transactions online, go ahead and do so today,” said Commissioner Rubenstein. “If you can change your pin numbers for your cards, do so now. With so much shopping and spending going on this time of year, consumers should be extra vigilant. Keep all receipts, check them, and scrutinize your credit statements and bank statements when they arrive during December and January.”
Those who suspect there has been unauthorized activity on their cards should report it to their credit card companies and call Target at 866-852-8680.
Customers who swiped a debit card or credit card at a Target store between November 27th and December 15th should be vigilant, and watch for bank and credit statements that come in for the time period between November 27th and December 15th.
If anything seems suspicious or you can’t identify it, contact your financial institution immediately to report it. Indicate that you may be a victim of the Target identity theft and you have identified suspicious activity on your account. The financial institution will guide you through your next steps to track the transaction, recover the funds if appropriate, and protect your account. Report it to Target as well, either at the number above, or at any new address that the company provides.
Attorney General Jepsen and Commissioner Rubenstein also provided the following consumer tips:
· Target data breach victims will want to make sure their credit history is not damaged as a result of thieves using their credit cards. They may need to place an initial fraud alert on their credit report. The initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days. Call any one of the three credit bureaus to place this alert.
o Equifax – Phone: 1-800-525-6285
o Experian – Phone: 1-888-397-3742
o Transunion – Phone: 1-800-680-7289
· Victims may also want to check their credit reports. Contact all three credit reporting companies above for a copy of their current credit report. If a consumer’s identity was actually stolen, the companies must provide a free report. If they are not sure if their identity was compromised, they may go to the Web site www.annualcreditreport.com and get one free copy of their report from each company if they haven’t already done so in the last 12 months. They can also call toll-free to request reports at 1-877-322-8228
· Victims should submit a complaint to the FTC online or by telephone.
o By phone: Call 1-877-438-4338 and talk to a counselor at the FTC. The counselor will ask questions to gather information about your complaint. Ask the counselor to email you a link so you can print your complaint; print your Identity Theft Affidavit and keep it in a safe place.
o Go to www.ftc.gov/complaint to create your Identity Theft Affidavit. Print your Identity Theft Affidavit and keep it in a safe place.
· Victims should file a police report. Take your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit with you to the police station. Get a copy of the police report or the number of the police report.
· Victims should set up a file folder to safely store:
1. Your ID Theft Affidavit and police report
2. Emails or letters that you send or get
3. A record of calls that you make or get
· After filing a report, keep records of the letters you send or get and the conversations you have. You might need the records to prove that you already fixed something.
o Save copies of your papers, receipts, and account statements.
o Keep a list of the companies you called and when you called them. Write the name of the person you spoke with, what you asked them to do, and what they agreed to do.
Target confirmed today that as many as 40 million customers' names, credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, PIN numbers and security codes on the back of the cards were compromised at its stores across the country between November 27th and December 15th.
The company says credit card numbers used on its Web site were not affected, and that it is working with law enforcement officials and financial institutions.
Assistant Attorney General Michele Lucan, a member of the Attorney General’s Privacy Task Force, and Assistant Attorney General Matthew Fitzsimmons, head of the Task Force, are assisting the Attorney General with this matter.