Hackers stole personal information, including names, phone numbers as well as e-mail and mailing addresses — from as many as 70 million customers as part of a pre-Christmas data breach at Target. As a result, the retailer is offering free credit monitoring to customers and investing $5 million in a cybersecurity coalition.
Neiman Marcus said on Jan. 23 that malicious software attempted to take customers’ credit and debit card information from July 16 to Oct. 30 of last year. The luxury retailer believes about 1.1 million payment cards may have been affected.
Despite these breaches, a new poll has found that Americans are not doing more to protect their personal information.
Here’s a look at what you need to know about what Target and Neiman Marcus are doing about the breaches and what the state attorney general’s offices suggests people do if their identity is stolen. Next
Get free credit monitoring offered by Neiman Marcus
The luxury retailer said it is contacting customers for whom it has addresses or e-mail who shopped between January 2013 and January 2014, and offering one free year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection.
The company said it is not aware of the breach impacting customers who shopped online or used Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman private label cards.
Customers can activate free credit monitoring through Experian’s ProtectMyID Alert at www.protectmyid.com/nm. Consumers must enroll by June 15.
Sign up for free credit monitoring offered by Target
Target is offering customers free credit monitoring that includes identity theft insurance, except where it is prohibited by law.
The offer is available to anyone who shopped in a Target store in the United States.
The offer includes a free copy of your credit report, daily credit monitoring, and access to assistance from fraud resolution agents, the company said.
Customers must register for credit monitoring before April 23. Visit creditmonitoring.target.com to register.
After registering, you will receive an e-mail from Target with a unique activation code and instructions on next steps. You must use the activation code to register at www.protectmyid.com/target, the company said.
The year of free credit monitoring begins once you enroll with ProtectMyID, Target said. Next
What does the credit monitoring from Target entail?
Credit report: Customers will get a free copy of their Experian credit report. If you enroll online, the report will be available online for 30 days, Target said.
Daily credit monitoring: Customers will receive alerts that reflect changes to their Experian credit report during a one year period. The alerts will cover new inquiries, newly opened accounts, notifications about deliquencies and medical collection, and more.
Identity theft resolution: Customers who are confirmed as victims of identity theft will be assigned to a fraud resolution agent who works for Experian. This person will walk customers through the process of handling any issues created because their identity was stolen, Target said.
Identity theft insurance: Customers whose identities were stolen during the Target data breach will be covered by a $1 million insurance policy to help cover certain costs, including lost wages, private investigator fees, and unauthorized electronic fund transfers for one year, the company said.
ProtectMyID ExtendCARE: Customers will have access to a fraud resolution agent after the one year membership with ProtectMYID expires. Next
What does state law say about ID theft in Massachusetts?
The attorney general’s office has a guide for consumers who believe they are victims of identity theft.
Here’s what the state recommends that you do:
File a report with your local police department: Identity theft is a crime under state law and consumers can file a complaint with their local police.
Once you file a report, keep a copy for yourself, and give a copy to your creditors and the credit bureaus, the guide said.
Not all identity theft complaints can or will be investigated, but the attorney general’s office urges consumers to file police reports anyway.
The report makes it possible for law enforcement to spot trends and patterns, and to identify the prevalence of identity theft, the guide said.
Once you send a copy of the police report to one of the credit bureaus, an extended fraud alert will be placed in your credit file for seven years.
That means when anyone checks your credit report, a notification will go out saying that you do not authorize any new credit cards, any increase in credit limits, the issuance of a new card on an existing account, or other increases in credit unless extra precaution is taken to make sure the additional credit is going to the consumer and not an identity thief, the state said.
Place a security freeze on your credit report: State law permits consumers to place a security freeze on their credit report, which prohibits a credit reporting agency from releasing any information from the report without written authorization.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, and you provide the credit reporting agency with a valid police report, it cannot charge you to place, lift, or remove a security freeze.
In all other cases, a credit reporting agency may charge up to $5 each to place, lift, or remove a security freeze, the state said.
Check with the credit reporting agency for its rules about placing a security freeze.
Pictured is Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Next
Close any problem accounts
Contact the credit card companies, banks, or any other creditors to close accounts that you know have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Next
Put a fraud alert on your credit file
Contact the fraud department of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
The fraud alert requires creditors to contact consumers before opening any new accounts or making changes to existing accounts.
When you place a fraud alert on your credit file, the three credit bureaus are required by law to send you a credit report free of charge.
The fraud alert will remain in your credit file for at least 90 days, the attorney general’s office said.
When you get your credit report, review it for any accounts you did not open, unexplained debts on accounts you did open, and inquiries that you didn’t initiate.
Contact any companies if you find any unexplained activities. Next
Call fraud departments for each of your creditors
If your cards have been stolen, make those phone calls now.
If your ATM or debit card was stolen, report the thefts immediately to the bank or card issuer even if you are unsure whether the cards have been used.
If you get a new account from your creditors, use new personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords.
Make a list of all the financial institutions where you do business, including credit card companies and financial institutions where you have checking, savings, investment, or other accounts.
Also contact your telephone, cellphone, and Internet service provider. Let them know that an identity thief may have your account information even if that particular company was not the subject of the fraud.
Ask your creditors to put a fraud alert on your account.
Follow up with companies in writing and keep a record of the correspondence. Next
Who else do I need to contact?
Your bank: Identity thieves may write checks in your name. If so, alert your bank and close your bank account.
Registry of Motor Vehicles: If you were issued a driver’s license in Massachusetts, the RMV’s website has information about obtaining a new license.
Social Security Administration: Request a replacement card if your Social Security card was lost or stolen. In certain circumstances, you may also request a new Social Security number or for help correcting your earnings records.
United States Postal Service: If you suspect that the identity thief has filed a change of address with the post office, tell the postal service. Also notify your local postmaster to make sure mail in your name comes to your address.
Passport Services Office: You can report a stolen passport by completing a form provided by the US Department of State Passport Services. You’ll then have to apply for a new passport and submit the application in person.
Cellular or mobile provider: Contact your provider immediately if you discover fraudulent charges on your cell phone or mobile service bill. You will probably need to close your account and open a new one. You may also want to request that a password be provided and required before any changes can be made to your accounts. Back to the beginning
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