How To Protect Your Identity - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

How To Protect Your Identity

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By: Claire Powell


The Target security breach couldn't have come at a worse time. The holidays have millions of people shopping and traveling, making it difficult for banks to tell what spending is out-of-the-ordinary and what is normal.

"There's going to be tens of thousands of Iowans affected by this," said William Brauch, Director of Consumer Protection at the Iowa Attorney General's Office.

If you swiped your card at Target within those three weeks, you should be monitoring every bank transaction very carefully. Customers should also be giving their banks a warning that they may become a victim.

"You may get a call from your card issuer telling you, "This looks unusual, is this something you did or someone else did?"" said Jodi Selby, Security Officer and Vice President of Bankers Trust.

The hackers could make what is called a "test transaction." This is a purchase, as little as ten cents, that could show your card is active and usable.

If you see this kind of transaction, call your bank immediately.

"Most financial institutions will chose to reissue those cards, close the effected one and open new ones," said Selby.

If you don't think a new card is enough, there are fraud monitoring services that will monitor for you.

"It has to be done. Either you do it or pay someone to do it for you, but you need to monitor for identity theft whether it's credit or debit card, identity and Social Security Number. All of that needs to be monitored," said Selby.

For now, this is an ongoing investigation that the Iowa Attorney General's Office will also be looking into.  

"The Attorney General's Office here in Iowa will be working with other state offices to look more closely into the situation to find out what happened and whether the company did all it should have done to protect this information," said Brauch.

Target has established a hotline for customers who believe they may have been affected by the breach.  Target customers who notice irregular activity on their accounts should call the toll free hotline: 1-866-852-8680.

Consumers are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus and for more information, visit


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