Published On: Fri, Dec 27th, 2013

Secondary scams to follow massive data breach at Target; Financial info of 40 million shoppers compromised

By Dan Heyman

The massive data security breach at Target stores that exposed debit and credit card information for millions of shoppers is leading to even more dangers. Dan Hendrickson, communications coordinator, Better Business Bureau, said scammers are using this breach as a backdrop when sending out virus-laden email messages.

“They are saying, ‘Hey, we understand you were affected by this Target thing. Click on this link here or download this file, and it will tell you what you need to do’,” Hendrickson said. “We’re advising people to be very, very leery of any emails to do with this Target situation. More likely, you’d get a letter from your bank or credit card provider telling you, ‘Here’s what happened. Here’s what you need to do’.”

The breach affects consumers who made credit or debit card purchases between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Target said it takes the privacy of shopper information very seriously and has worked swiftly to resolve the incident.

Target also is advising those who think they might be affected to be vigilant about their credit and debit accounts, Hendrickson said.

“People really just, right now, need to be aware. They need to be watching their accounts. And, again, if they see any suspicious charges or charges they didn’t authorize, they should get in touch with their bank and credit card company immediately, because after 60 days, if they don’t contest those charges, they may be liable for them,” he explained.

Hendrickson added that with the ever-growing number of identity-theft crimes, staying aware of frauds and scams is something folks should do year-round.

Fraud Watch information is at www.aarp.org. Target’s statement is available at http://tgt.biz.