A.G. Schneiderman Sends Letter To Target Regarding Data Breach, Provides Tips To Potential Victims

In light of the recent breach affecting millions of Target customers, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent the following letter to Target’s Investor Relations Bureau this morning:

“The New York Attorney General’s Office is concerned regarding the reported massive data breach affecting millions of Target customers.  We request that an official familiar with the facts contact us to discuss the breach and the steps taken by Target to protect New York customers.  We have been advised that there are already reported incidents of identity theft affecting New York consumers.  Please advise us immediately what steps Target is taking to remediate these incidents.  We await official notice of the breach as required by New York Law (General Business Law 899-aaa)

In the interim, we request that Target offer each of the affected New York consumers, at a minimum, one year free credit monitoring service.  Please acknowledge this email upon receipt.”

The Attorney General has also provided a list of tips, both for those Target customers who suspect they may be a victim of the data security breach, and for those who have verified that they are a victim of this breach:

If you might be a victim:

  • Report to any of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Transunion or Experian) that you may have been a victim of identity theft. Make sure the credit reporting agency has your current contact information so they can get in contact with you. 
  • Ask the credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on your credit file.  This will still allow you to use your credit card. If you put a fraud alert on your file, you may ask for a free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies.  Contacting any one of the three credit reporting agencies above is enough to file a credit alert with all of them.  A credit alert must be renewed every 90 days.
  • You also have a right to put a credit freeze on your credit file.  This will block someone from obtaining credit using your name or personal information.  This means you won’t be able to apply for any new credit cards or loans while the freeze is in effect, but you can continue to use your existing cards.  To freeze your credit file you must notify each of the three major credit bureaus.   You can remove the freeze temporarily or permanently by contacting each of the three agencies.  There is no fee if you have been the victim of identity theft.  You may be charged a fee of up to $5) if you have not been a victim of identity theft.
  • You should also check your credit activity regularly with each credit issuer.  You don’t need to wait for your monthly statement, though you should check that as well.  Many banks provide online information to account holders about recent activity. 

If you are a victim:

  • Create an identity theft fraud report.  To create one, file a complaint with the FTC and print your Identity Theft Affidavit. You can call the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 or go online at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/GettingStarted?NextQID=17&Url=%23%26panel1-2
  • Use that to file a police report and create your Identity Theft Report. 
  • An Identity Theft Report will help you deal with credit reporting companies, debt collectors and any fraudulent accounts that the ID thief opened in your name.
  • Put a freeze (not just a fraud alert) on your credit report by notifying each of the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion or Experian).  The freeze can only be removed by you.  
  • Get your credit report from each of the three agencies.  You are entitled to free reports once you post a fraud alert or put a freeze on your account.  Read the reports carefully to see whether other fraudulent transactions or accounts are listed, and then take steps to correct the errors.
  • Check your credit card account frequently to look for any irregular activity.

The contact information for the credit reporting agencies are:

Equifax
1-800-525-6285

Experian
1-888-397-3742

TransUnion
1-800-680-7289

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