40 Million Target Customers May Be Victims of Security Breach

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

The massive data breach began just as shoppers were gearing up for the frenzy of Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping.

If you’ve done any shopping at Target in the past few weeks and used plastic to pay, your credit or debit card information may be at risk.

Target says as many as 40 million customers may be susceptible to fraud due to a security breach of credit and debit card data between Nov. 27 and Dec.15.

The company says the stolen information includes customer names, credit or debit card numbers, card expiration dates and CVV codes, enabling fraudsters to replicate the data onto counterfeit cards. The CVV is that three-digit code on the back of your card.

USA Today reports:

The breach involves the theft of information stored on the magnetic stripe on the backs of cards used at nearly all of Target’s stores around the country, according to the Krebs on Security website, who first reported the news. …

The breach does not appear to involve online purchases, Krebs reports. It appears the type of data stolen would allow thieves to create counterfeit credit cards and, if PIN numbers were intercepted, would also allow thieves to withdraw cash from ATM machines, according to Krebs.

Target notified authorities and financial institutions Immediately after the breach was discovered, the company said. “Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Target.

If you believe you might be among the 40 million customers, take these steps to protect yourself:

  • Starting right now, monitor your credit card or bank statement for purchases or withdrawals you didn’t make. If you see fraudulent activity, file a police report and notify your card company or bank. You won’t be held responsible for paying for a fraudulent purchase if you notify the financial institution in a timely fashion.
  • If you think you used your credit card at a Target store during that period of time, let your card company know. It may issue you another card.
  • If you used your debit card instead, call your bank. It may want to issue you a new card or at least change your PIN.
  • If your identity has been stolen as a result of this data breach, contact Target toll-free at (866) 852-8680 to report the incident.
  • Start monitoring your credit reports. You can get one free report each year from each of the big three credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for new accounts being opened in your name and other suspicious activity.
  • Ask one of the credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your report. It will share your request with the two other bureaus.
  • If you are a victim of fraud, consider getting a freeze on your credit reports.

There’s no need to pay for credit monitoring. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains how you can easily do it yourself for free in this video.

What are your thoughts about Target’s security breach? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 10 Key Facts to Test Your Credit Card IQ

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,069 more deals!