Breaking News Emails
Target dropped yet another bombshell on Friday when the retailer revealed that not only credit card information — including PINs — was stolen in the holiday season breach, but also that the names, phone numbers, email addresses and physical addresses of up to 110 million shoppers were obtained by thieves.
Fraud experts weighed in on the steps people should take to protect themselves against credit card fraud, but that was before the full scope of the breach was exposed. NBC News reached out to security experts to find out what extra precautions Target shoppers should take now that they know thieves have their personal information in addition to their financial information.
Be wary of email correspondence
“If you see an email that asks you to click a link to a site and provide sensitive information, stop and don't click or provide any data,” said Brian Krebs, who first exposed the Target breach.
Sign up for identity theft protection
Target is providing all U.S. customers one free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection, and they will announce the details next week. Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert with bestIDtheftcompanys.com, warns that those who are looking to set up free protection should go directly to Target's website to set up services. If people set up protection through emails they think are from Target, they are at risk of basically handing over their social security numbers to thieves, which is the last piece of the puzzle they need to steal identities. “The social is the key to the kingdom,” Siciliano said.
Pay attention to bank and credit card statements
Hackers using credit and debit card information is still a greater risk than identity theft, and the real way to avoid losing money is to monitor statements daily. “People are checking their Facebook page 20 times a day, why can’t they check their statement,” asked Siciliano. Even if people set up credit card monitoring, attentiveness is the best defense against fraudulent charges, he said. “Keeping a close eye on your credit and debit card statements is a must,” Krebs said.
Don’t worry, just act
“You should never lose sleep over something like this. You just have to be smart about things,” advised Siciliano. “Consumers should be vigilant but not overly paranoid as a result of this,” Krebs agreed. Siciliano said everyone —affected by this breach or not — should always invest in credit card monitoring and identity theft protection. Take advantage of Target’s free year and then renew it, he said.