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What you need to know about the Target Breach

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As you may have heard in the news, Target has had a huge breach of debit and credit card information. The breach started on Black Friday (Nov. 27) and ran through last Sunday (Dec. 15), exposing as many as 40 million debit and credit card accounts, making it one of the largest breaches ever at a U.S. retailer.

 

Experts note that the timing of this is no accident; fraudsters know that the holiday season has the ability to mask the flags that processors’ fraud monitoring and mitigation systems look for, such as comparisons against a cardholders transaction history, which obviously changes dramatically during the holiday season.

 

Below are answers to a few frequently asked questions following the breach. 

 

So exactly what information was obtained in during the breach?

Target reported that customer names, debit or credit card numbers and expiration dates were taken, along with the three-digit security codes (CVVs) often imprinted on the backs of cards. The breach is not limited to Target-issued credit cards; customers using any credit or debit card could be affected. Thankfully, the attack only affected in-store shoppers, not those who made purchases online.

 

How will I know if my account is affected?

If your account information was compromised, we will notify you and send you a new card by mail. Once the card is activated, we close out the old card.

 

In the meantime, to keep your account information safe, be sure to monitor your account for any unusual activity and notify us immediately if you see anything out of the ordinary. If you have additional questions, please contact your local Bank Forward branch. Target has also set up a hotline for those who think they may have been affected by the breach at 1-866-852-8680.

 

How can I protect myself in the future?

This was an attack on Target’s internal systems, so it’s difficult for consumers to take steps to protect themselves against this kind of theft in the future. However, customers are protected by their banks when these retail point-of-sale breaches do happen.

 

Regardless of where the breach actually occurred, Bank Forward takes a variety of steps to protect the integrity of our customers' accounts, including:

  • Monitoring accounts for indications of suspicious activity.
  • Blocking and reissuing cards for affected accountholders.
  • Reimbursing customers for confirmed fraudulent transactions.

 

But you can help improve bank security.

Though everyone – including banks, retailers, card networks, law enforcement, and industry associations – has as a responsibility to protect the integrity of the payments system and prevent events like this from occurring, you play an important role in improving your financial security.

 

Stay alert.

  • Check your account often for suspicious activity – either through the Internet, phone or ATM statements.
  • Enroll in mobile fraud alerting programs that your bank may offer to warn of suspicious activity on your accounts.
  • Periodically obtain credit reports from each nationwide credit reporting agency. If anything on the report appears fraudulent, request that the credit reporting agency delete that information from your file. Under federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Obtain a free copy by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

 

Protect your financial information.

  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who calls you over the phone or through text and email.
  • Keep a record of card numbers, expiration dates and list of finical institution telephone numbers in cases of theft in a secure place.
  • Do not leave your bank statements, checkbooks, PIN numbers or credit/debit cards lying around the house or on your desk at work. No one should have access to this information but you.

 

When in doubt, contact your financial institution.

  • If you have a reason to suspect fraud, contact Bank Forward or your card-issuing financial institution immediately by phone, your online banking site, or at the branch.
  • If you suspect you’ve become a victim of identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or call 1-877-438-4338.
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