Use Your Credit Card At Target? Here’s What To Do If Your Data Might Have Been Swiped

Source: Ben Popken / NBC News

As many as 40 million Target customers had their credit and debit card information ripped off by thieves over 19 days this holiday shopping season, including the Black Friday weekend. While thieves will only use a small percentage of the black magnetic strip data taken from those cards, it’s still a smart idea for shoppers take precautions immediately if they think their information could be in danger, experts say.

Here’s what you should do if you think you might be a victim.

Should I cancel my credit or debit card and get a new number?
The safest answer is yes. While banks are monitoring all the stolen cards carefully, and under federal regulations and company policy you will be able to get your money back or zap unauthorized charges, fighting them can be a hassle.

Could this lead to identity theft? How can I protect myself?
Conceivably, yes, though not right away and the odds are longer. Data thieves can resell their plunder on the global black market. It can be recombined with other public and stolen data to piece together parts of your identity to open up credit cards, cellphones and even take out a home loan in your name.

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