*Were you one of the thousands of customers…er, excuse me, as of last count 110 million customers, whose data was breached because you shopped at Target and used your debit or credit card?
If you hadn’t heard, the retailer had a massive breach. Personal information such as credit and debit cards numbers, names, addresses and emails were lifted by cyber thieves and was discovered in early December, and financial institutions such as mine worked overtime to let their customers know that, “to be on the safe side,” they were issuing new cards.
No doubt Target lost a lot of customers over that one.
But the retailer has decided they are not going out like that. So here’s what they have decided to offer you in exchange for your trust.Through a service called ProtectMyID from Experian, a credit monitoring company, Target wants to give any customer who shopped in any of their U.S. stores a full year of free credit and Identity Theft monitoring.
Now you might be asking yourself, why would I trust the very entity that placed me in this predicament with such a task.
Well, maybe I was just thinking that.
And quite frankly, there is probably no answer that you or I will be satisfied with, so I will forego any theories. But I do know that its better to have this protection than not have it. And what can beat getting it “free” for a year.
Target’s free offer is typical of those offered by most retailers after a security breach, said Dianne Cutter, CEO of Asurency Protection in Chaska, an identity theft and fraud protection company.
“It’s a good idea to take them up on it,” she said. “But consumers should still look at their credit report to look for any changes.”
Dan Hendrickson, spokesman for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, also recommends getting the free coverage, even if a person hasn’t noticed unauthorized charges.
“It makes sense to sign up regardless. Often there’s a period of two to three months without any fraudulent activity and something pops up.”
Consumers who want the credit monitoring can start the process at https://creditmonitoring.target.com. An e-mail address and name is required to sign up. Target will e-mail an activation code within one to five days to enroll. Then consumers will complete the process with the code at www.protectmyid.com/target. Name, address, date of birth and Social Security number are required.
Jacqui DuBois of Plymouth has already taken Target up on its free offer. “I signed up for it because I don’t have time to monitor my accounts as closely as I would like to,” she said.
Consumers without computer access can call 1-866-852-8680 to start the process.
The cost of credit monitoring services varies from $120 to $300 per year for consumers, according to Consumer Reports, but Target is probably paying much less. “They get it for a really cheap price,” Cutter said.
Thanks to Star Tribune Business for excerpts of this story.