Expert Recommends Changing PIN And Monitoring Banking Activity If You've Shopped At Target

Target storefront and shopping cart [flickr/Daniel Iam]
The data breach that exposed the bank cards of millions of Target customers caused more damage than initially thought, according to the discount retailer. One Houston consumer expert says it might be a good time to review information on bank accounts.

Target now says in a statement that up to 70-million customers were affected by the breach last month. The Minneapolis-based retailer had originally reported that 40-million customers were affected. It now confirms that the additional personal information discovered stolen, was from both in store and online purchases:

"I've been online since that theft was reported, just to see were there any charges I didn't recognize."

That's Richard Alderman, director of the Center for Consumer Law at UH.

"This happens to have been Target, but I think the important thing is to always check your statements online. I literally go almost every day and look at my statement to see if there are any errors or unauthorized charges."

Not only did thieves get their hands on customer names, account numbers, security codes and expiration dates from the magnetic strips on the backs of credit and debit cards, but mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers.

"Changing your PIN is the easy way to deal with debit card theft, and in fact, you've got to be careful with that pin. Don't put 1, 2, 3, 4 or 0, 0, 0, 0, or your birth date. Come up with something that's a little unusual, and then it's not a hassle to take the time to protect yourself."

Some banks have already sent out new debit cards pro-actively to customers who shopped at Target over the holidays.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...