Thought you were safe because you didn’t shop at Target during the holiday season? It turns out, you’re at risk nevertheless – and not just because the hack apparently affected customers who shopped outside of the date range previously reported.
In the wake of the hack which news reports say affected one in three American adults, many banks and credit card companies are sending customers new cards and taking steps to verify the identities of card holders – and scammers are jumping on the opportunity to get involved.
1. Calls and text messages from “credit card companies” You might receive a call or text message advising you that due to security precautions, your credit card has been blocked until the “bank” or “credit card company” can verify your account information. The caller or text message might ask you to call a number to verify your information.
2. Calls from “Target” or a company “representing Target” The caller will ask you to verify your info – including name, address, Social Security number – to check whether or not your account was compromised by the hack.
3. Email from “Target” You might receive an email purportedly from Target asking you to click on a link to verify your information. Scammers are sending emails that link to sites that can expose your computer to a virus that steals personal information.
What to do
Requests for personal info Whether it’s a call, a text or an email, don’t give any of your information, including credit card number, address, email address, or Social Security number. Instead, call the company directly (look for the number on the back of your card).
Links in emails Never click on a link in an email that does not come from a friend or trusted source (and if it comes from a friend or trusted source but looks fishy, don’t click.). That said, scammers are using technology to make emails look as if they come from a reputable source. Don’t assume it’s safe. Instead of clicking on the link, call the company or navigate directly to its website by typing in the URL. If you think an email was sent by scammers, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.