Secondary scams expected to follow massive data breach at Target

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

The massive data breach at Target Stores that exposed debit and credit information for millions of shoppers is leading to even more dangers ahead.

Dan Hendrickson, communications coordinator of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, says scammers are using this case as a backdrop when sending out virus-laden email messages.

“Saying, ‘Hey, you know, we understand you were effected by this Target thing, click on this link here or download this file and it will tell you what you need to do,’” he said. “And we’re advising people to be very, very leery of any emails to do with this Target situation.

“More likely, you’d get a letter from your bank or credit card provider telling you, ‘Here’s what happened. Here’s what you need to do.’”

The breach impacts guests who made credit or debit card purchases between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

Target says it takes the privacy of shopper information very seriously and worked swiftly to resolve the incident.

Target is also telling those who think they might be affected to be vigilant about their credit and debit accounts.

“People really just, right now, need to be aware,” Hendrickson says. “They need to be watching their accounts and again, if they see any suspicious charges or charges they didn’t authorize, they should get in touch with their bank and credit card company immediately — because after 60 days, if they don’t contest those charges, they may be liable for them.”

Hendrickson adds with the ever-growing number of identify theft crimes, staying aware of frauds and scams is something that folks should do year-round.

One resource is the AARP Fraud Watch Network, which offers free alerts, tips and advice.