The big consumer news today is the theft of credit and debit card information of up to 40 million Target in-store customers between November 27 and December 15. The data would allow criminals to create counterfeit cards by encoding the information onto any card with a magnetic stripe. If PIN codes were also intercepted, that would allow criminals to withdraw the cash of unsuspecting customers from ATMs. Target said that the theft came from magnetic stripes of the cards that customers swiped at the cash register, and it included customer names, card numbers, expiration dates and the short verification codes known as CVVs - everything an attacker would need to create a counterfeit card.
BBB advises Target customers to check their credit and debit card transactions to make sure there are no unauthorized transactions. If there are questionable charges, contact the financial institution issuing the card immediately to place fraud alert. Target also advises customers who made purchases at its U.S. stores between November 27 and December 15 to call them at 866-852-8680.
BBB recommends that consumers get copies of their credit reports from the agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can do so by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. If there are unauthorized transactions on your credit report, notify the credit agencies.