Make us your home page

What to do if you think your credit or debit card info might have been breached at Target

Target announced this morning that information on millions of credit and debit card accounts may have been leaked in a data breach that happened just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear.

The chain said accounts of customers who made purchases by swiping their cards at terminals in its U.S. stores from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 may have been exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the cards' backs.

The breach affected all cards, including Target store brand cards and major card brands such as Visa and MasterCard.

If you've shopped at Target this holiday season, here are some things you can do to find out if your credit or debit card was affected by the security breach:

• You should always check your credit card and bank account statement for suspicious or unauthorized purchases. But you shouldn't wait for your next statement. Get to know your bank's website, where records of transactions will be updated daily. If that's not an option, call the number on the back of your credit card to find out the most recent transactions. Don't just look for large charges. Hackers often charge a few cents to find out if an account is usable.

• If you do find fraudulent charges on your account, call your credit card company or bank. The good news is in most cases you aren't on the hook for them. Credit card companies are often able to flag the charges before they go through and shut down your card. If that doesn't happen, the card issuer will generally strip charges you claim are fraudulent off your card immediately.

• Target has set up a toll-free line to field calls relating to the breach: 1-866-852-8680. Keep in mind it might be busy. Target customers have indicated that they have had difficulty accessing their accounts on the company's website Thursday.

• To avoid future problems, sign up for fraud monitoring services. Credit card companies typically offer them for free.

• Your bank likely offers email and text message alerts that you can set up on their website so they can notify you every time there's an Internet purchase, international purchase or a charge over a certain amount. Some financial institutions will also alert you when your balance reaches a certain limit. Visit your bank's site and see what you need to do to receive these alerts.

• Replace your credit card and change your PIN, if your account has been compromised.

• Contact the Federal Trade Commission or local law enforcement to report incidents of identity theft or to learn about protecting yourself from identity theft. Go to, or call the FTC toll-free at 1-877-438-4338 — or write to Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580.

Associated Press

What to do if you think your credit or debit card info might have been breached at Target 12/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  2. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone


    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?
  3. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans


    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.
  4. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  5. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.