Are you one of the roughly 70 million people who got an email from Target last week about the store’s mega security breach? If so, be careful! Target did indeed email customers to offer one year of FREE credit monitoring. The problem is scammers are also sending out similar emails taking advantage of the situation.
If you haven’t opened the email: Don’t bother, since even opening a fraudulent email could lead to a virus being installed on your computer. Instead, go directly to Target’s website to view the letter.
You can also visit creditmonitoring.target.com directly to enroll in the FREE credit monitoring that Target is offering. Once there, you will have to enter your email address and will be sent another email within 72 hours with a unique activation code to use in order to sign up for the service. The subject will mention the activation code.
If you’ve already opened the email: Target has posted a copy of the email it sent out online. You can go here to make sure the email you opened, the address it came from, and the link you clicked all matches up.
If it doesn’t match, and especially if you clicked a link to an external website and entered personal information, you need to take action quickly. First, get a copy of your credit report, check your bank and credit card activity on a daily basis and call the credit reporting agencies to tell them what happened. If you entered a credit card or debit card number, reach out to those institutions to warn them of potential fraud as well. You can ask to have a fraud alert placed on your account, meaning it will be flagged to lenders if someone attempts to open credit in your name.
If you’re really worried, you can request a credit freeze, which prohibits any credit from being extended under your name. But that’s a big step because you will have to go through the process of undoing this whenever you need credit again.
All other correspondence from Target can be found here. The retailer emphasizes that it will never email a consumer and ask for personal information like a Social Security number or credit card information. There is also more information available about this online at CNNMoney.