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Howard Ain Troubleshooter: Target Breach
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Target says it has fixed the problem that put millions of accounts in jeopardy, but that doesn't ease the concern of many shoppers who have used their credit and debit cards at Target.
40 million shoppers who have used their credit or debit cards could be affected. This is a huge hacking attack at one of the country's largest big box retail stores.
The theft of this important information happened during the busiest shopping time of the year. Most people pay for their Christmas shopping purchases with credit or debit cards.
American Express says it is aware of the incident and has put fraud controls in place.
The Secret Service is investigating.
Target says it has identified the problem, resolved the issue, and is working with law enforcement and financial institutions. The security breach only affects customers who have shopped in target stores, not online.
Target customers talked with Local 12 Thursday and say they are concerned.
"I'm nervous, my identity could have been stolen, all my money could be gone. It's the holiday season."
Target says credit card holders can shop at their stores with confidence now but want customers to carefully check their credit and debit card statements for unauthorized charges. Immediately notify your bank if you find anything suspicious.
In the meantime, place a fraud alert on your credit report. To do that go to annualcreditreport.com and follow the directions.
If you find unauthorized charges also contact your state attorney general. Any fraudulent activity may take many months to show up so you should sign up for credit monitoring. You can do so for free at creditkarma.com.
Should you be looking for large charges on your credit and debit card statements? Not necessarily. Statements? Not necessarily. Often thieves will just test the card to see if it will work so they'll charge just a dollar or two to see if they can fly under the radar. So beware.
Also, be advised that credit alert you file will only stay on your credit report for 90 days.
A big concern is debit cards because thieves can empty your bank account in minutes. And you have only 30 days to notify your bank and try to get your money back.