Schemers Targeting Data Breach Victims

January 06, 2014

Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming advises consumers who had their credit or debit information compromised as a result of the Target data breach to beware of con artists aiming to fool them into sharing their credit card and/or personal information.

Many consumers report receiving text messages that claim to be from their credit card companies. The message states their card has been blocked in response to fraudulent activity following the recent Target data breach (learn more at The message asks you to call a phone number to verify your account information. “The text message, however,  is just a con to get you to share your card number and other info,” said Shelley Polansky, vice president of communications for BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming.

In addition to text messages, some consumers say they are receiving email and phone calls requesting the same information. In one version, scammers call and claim to represent Target and ask consumers to "verify" their name, address, Social Security and other information to supposedly check whether their information was compromised in the breach.

How to Spot This Scheme:

The best way to protect yourself is to identify the warning signs:

  • Check Target's website: Given the number of scams surrounding the data breach, Target has posted all  of its official communications at Check any emails or texts you receive claiming to be from Target against the official list.

  • Don't believe what you see. Scammers use technology to make emails and phone calls appear to come from a reputable source. Just because it looks credible does not mean it's safe.

  • Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. As always, do not click on links or open the files in unfamiliar emails.

  • Watch for bad grammar: Typo-filled text messages and emails are usually a dead giveaway that it's from a scammer, not a corporation.

BBB also advises being extra diligent in reviewing monthly financial statements for suspicious charges and to notify your bank or credit card company immediately if you spot one or more.

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