HARRISBURG, Pa. - Attorney General Kathleen Kane cautioned consumers who may have been victims of the security breach at Target to only deal directly with Target or her office with concerns about their personal information.
"A number of scammers have taken advantage of Target customers' misfortune and have set up websites and are sending emails with Target's logos in an attempt to further victimize consumers whose personal information may have been taken from Target," Kane said.
Target has announced several steps to help shoppers affected by the recent security breach, including free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
Kane said these steps come after discussions with her Bureau of Consumer Protection and other states on behalf of consumers, as part of a broader multistate effort.
"It is important for Pennsylvania consumers to know that we have their back," Kane said. "This is another step in making sure that Target does whatever is necessary to protect our consumers from additional financial and emotional harm as a result of this security breach."
Initially, Target announced that the credit card information of about 40 million customers had been stolen. Last week, the retailer announced that contact information, including names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers, were compromised for 70 million customers.
Target will provide all customers, including those directly affected by the breaches, a year of free credit protection services.
Starting Monday, all U.S. Target shoppers can register for a year of free credit protection services at Target's official website.
Kane emphasized that consumers should avoid other sites offering relief for Target customers, as they could be scams designed to obtain additional sensitive personal information.
Consumers can also contact Target directly at 1-866-852-8680 and can reach Attorney General Kane's Consumer Protection Helpline at 1-800-441-2555.
Details on signing up for the free credit monitoring include:
- Consumers who shopped in U.S. stores may request an activation code by entering their name and email address online before April 23, 2014.
- Consumers will then receive an email from Target within one-to-five days that will include the unique activation code and instructions on how to register their code with the outside credit monitoring service.
- Consumers will have until April 30, 2014, to use their code to register with the outside credit monitoring service.
Kane said consumers who shopped at Target should proactively monitor their credit report and bank card account statements.
Any fraudulent activity noted on the credit report should be immediately reported in writing to the credit reporting bureau.
Any fraudulent activity on the bank card statements should be immediately reported in writing to the issuing bank.
The relevant time period during which the breach of credit card and other information occurred is Nov. 27, 2013, through Dec. 15, 2013.
After a thorough review of the security breach, the Attorney General will determine whether additional steps are appropriate.
Pennsylvania consumers with additional questions are encouraged to contact Attorney General Kane's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555.