Target informed the public earlier this month that about 40 million credit and debit accounts were compromised in a data breach at its stores across the country by computer hackers on purchases made at company stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013.
Target officials on Friday also confirmed on its website that the hackers were able to access some of the personal identification numbers (PIN) from the ATM cards used in its stores.
Businesses are required by Hawaii law to notify customers of any security breach involving personal information in any form following discovery of the breach. Hawaii law also requires businesses to notify the Office of Consumer Protection about the breach without unreasonable delay as well as information on the timing, distribution and content of the notices sent by the business to affected persons.
“We are working with Target to ensure that consumers are not held liable for fraudulent purchases,” Kim said. “Hawaii consumers who shopped at Target should take precautions to prevent their accounts from being used by monitoring their bank and credit card statements and reporting suspicious activities to their bank or card company. Keep your guard up for the next year because it may take time for any fraudulent transactions to appear.”
Many of the banks and credit unions in the islands have been on alert since the news of the breach.
Target has agreed to free credit report monitoring for one year for all cardholders affected by the breach.
If you believe that you have been a victim of identity theft, the following may be of help:
Identity Theft Warning Signs
· Unauthorized charges on your credit card
· Receiving credit cards that you did not seek
· Missing credit card bills
· Calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise you did not buy or services you did not authorize
· Being denied credit or offered credit at less favorable terms for no apparent reason
· Unauthorized credit cards or charges on your credit report
Tips on Protecting Yourself Following a Security Breach
· Contact your creditors, including credit card companies, banks, and other lenders, to determine whether there is any suspicious or unauthorized activity that has occurred on your accounts.
· Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Order it and review it for problems.
· Contact any of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert does not block potential new credit, but places a comment on your history. Creditors should contact you prior to opening a new account. You only need to contact one of the three companies because that company is required to contact the other two. Once you place a fraud alert on your file, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. The credit reporting agencies will send you a letter telling you how to order your free report. When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully and look for any suspicious activity.
· Be alert. It’s especially important in the first year following a security breach notification.
All consumers can obtain a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies, regardless of whether they have been identity theft victims. Call 1-877-322-8228 or request one online at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can request a report from one of the reporting companies every four months and carefully review this report for suspicious activity.
Credit Reporting Agencies:
· Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
· Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
· TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
As the consumer counsel for the state, the Office of Consumer Protection is the primary agency responsible for reviewing, investigating and prosecuting allegations of unfair or deceptive trade practices in consumer transactions.