identity protection guide
We want your Target shopping experience to be safe and secure. That’s why we’ll call you if we notice unusual transactions on your account. We also offer the following tips and information to help you protect yourself from identity theft or repair your credit if you’ve become a victim.
This guide is not intended to be comprehensive, and the actual steps you take will depend on your circumstances. A comprehensive list of resources is included at the end of this guide.
Identity theft is the fastest-growing financial crime in the United States, with millions of victims to date. Criminals take names, Social Security numbers and other personal information to obtain credit, property and services. If it happens to you, steps can be taken to limit the damage to your good name.
what is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone takes your personal Information, such as your Social Security number or a credit card number, and uses that information in a fraudulent way. This information can come from a variety of sources:
- email/Internet (identity theft rings posing as legitimate businesses)
- bank statements
- credit card statements
- credit card receipts
- telephone calling cards
- driver’s license
- tax information
- vehicle purchase documentation
- mortgage records
- employment records
- health insurance/medical records
- unshredded personal documents
- unsecured Social Security number
- unsecured PIN (personal identification number)
- personal mailboxes (unsecured)/trash bins
what can you do to protect yourself from identity theft?
There are many free and easy steps that you can take to help protect yourself against credit fraud and identity theft.
- 1. examine your credit report once a year for any unauthorized accounts or account activity
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp to order a free copy of your credit report.
- 2. monitor billing statements of existing accounts for unusual or unauthorized activity
Keeping copies of your charge slips and comparing them to billing statement information will help you catch fraud quickly. If you ever see unauthorized activity on your Target™ Mastercard®, Target Credit Card™ or Target Debit Card™, call one of the following numbers to reach a guest services representative:
Target Mastercard: 1-800-424-6888
Target Credit Card: 1-800-659-2396
Target Debit Card: 1-888-729-7331
- 3. be cautious about giving out personal information over the Internet
Only give information to known or well-established websites. Many people find that their information has been stolen after they respond to an email requesting personal information.
- 4. carry only the information you need
Storing personal information, such as a Social Security number, in your wallet or someplace easily accessible to others puts that information at risk. Carrying as few cards as possible minimizes the risk if your wallet is stolen. Also, never write personal information, such as an account number or driver’s license number, on the outside of an envelope.
- 5. protect your computer
Installing up-to-date antivirus software, spyware and firewalls will minimize the risk that your computer will be hacked or compromised. Also, using the most current version of your Internet browser will help guard against spam and other malicious code. Finally, do not click on or download information from unknown sites. These sites can plant computer code on your computer that steals your personal information.
what can you do if you’re already a victim?
- 1. contact the police
Report the incident to the police in the city where the crime was committed:
- Give the police copies of relevant documents. (Keep the originals.)
- Give the police the names and addresses of affected financial institutions and creditors. If someone has fraudulently opened a credit card account using your name, and you know the address where the fraudulent credit cards were sent, provide the police with the address.
- You may want to ask the police to list each fraudulent account in their report.
- Request a copy of the police report. (NOTE: Affected companies and financial institutions may ask you for a copy of this report).
- Ask for the phone number and name of the police contact that will handle your case.
- 2. contact creditors
Contact each company that may have been affected. Call and send follow-up letters to every company where you think your name may have been used fraudulently in some way, such as credit card issuers, department stores, utility companies or others. In addition, do the following:
- Ask them to close any fraudulent accounts you become aware of and ask the companies to report any necessary corrections to the 3 major credit bureaus.
- If someone has taken over your accounts, and you want to maintain accounts with those companies, ask for replacement credit cards with new account numbers.
- 3. contact major credit bureaus
Call all 3 major credit bureaus to request that a fraud alert be added to your credit file. Ask each bureau to do the following:
- Send you a copy of your credit report. When it arrives, be sure to look through it carefully and ask them to investigate any incorrect information.
- Ask credit grantors to contact you by phone before opening new accounts.
Attn: Fraud Unit
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, Georgia 30374
Attn: Consumer Credit Fraud Assistance Department
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, Texas 75013
888-EXPERIAN or 1-888-397-3742 (Select option for fraud.)
what additional steps can you take?
- 1. contact government agencies
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
United States Postal Service
Mail theft is a felony. If you believe that someone has filed a change of address form in your name with the U.S. postal service or used the mail to commit fraud, consider doing the following:
- Notify your postal inspector and explain what happened.
- Call and write to the postal authority where the fraud was committed. Ask for a fraud complaint form to make sure that no mail with your name on it continues to be sent to a fraudulent address. You can also access this form on the https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/ website.
The secret service has jurisdiction over some areas of financial fraud. They are especially concerned with organized crime and large gangs that are involved in identity theft. You can contact them at http://www.secretservice.gov/. The phone number can be found under the government listings in your local phone directory.
Social Security Administration
To report fraudulent use of your Social Security number, call the Social Security fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271. You may also want to visit the website of the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov/oig.
Social Security fraud hotlineP.O. Box 17768 Baltimore, Maryland 21235
Department of Motor Vehicles
Be aware that someone using your name can have a fake driver’s license made. If you suspect this, you should notify the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state of residence.
Federal Government Information Center
For passport concerns, contact the Federal Government Information Center at 1-800-688-9889 for the phone number and address of the passport office. You can also visit the website of the Federal Citizen Information Center at www.info.gov.
- 2. watch your mail
Look for additional evidence of fraudulent activity in your mail and credit card bills. Report any new evidence to the credit bureaus, affected companies and the police.
- 3. protect personal information
- Before you give out any personal information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared.
- Keep personal data in a safe place such as a locked cabinet, safe or safe deposit box.
- Store personal records that you keep at work in a safe place.
- Shred or destroy credit card slips, bank account data, loan information and other financial records before throwing them out.
- Review your credit bureau report at least once a year for accuracy.
- 4. keep good records during the fraud investigation
- Keep a log of all your calls: write down the names, dates and phone numbers (including extensions) of the people you talked to.
- Maintain copies of all your letters/emails to authorities, financial institutions and creditors.
- Request time frames concerning the receipt of documentation and the resolution of your disputes. We may ask you to fill out a questionnaire and affidavit of forgery. After we receive the completed forms, we will proceed with an investigation and send any necessary updates to all 3 major credit bureaus.
what can you expect from Target card services?
Target card services is ready to assist you if someone has stolen your identity, fraudulently opened and/or used a credit card account with TD Bank USA, N.A. or fraudulently opened and/or used a Target Debit Card. If you’ve experienced fraud in connection with a Target™ Mastercard®, Target Credit Card® or Target Debit Card™, call one of the following numbers to reach a guest services representative:
Target Mastercard: 1-800-424-6888
Target Credit Card: 1-800-659-2396
Target Debit Card: 1-888-729-7331 Target card services takes a proactive approach to fighting fraud and identity theft. When a transaction or REDcard (Target Mastercard, Target Credit Card or Target Debit Card) application looks suspicious, we will call you to verify that you have authorized the application or transaction. You are not responsible for any charges or transactions on your REDcard that you did not authorize. We will work to quickly resolve any fraud situations you may have with your REDcard. For some online account changes or other changes to your REDcard, you may be prompted to provide additional information about yourself, your account or your REDcard. This helps us ensure that we are talking to the right guest and reduces the risk of fraud and the possibility of identity theft. Phishing and pharming are two ways your identity can be compromised. These scams often begin with an email from a legitimate-looking site, like a merchant that you use or your bank. These emails will often ask you to click on a link to update your information or change your account in some way. These links lead to very legitimate-looking sites but are not associated with the company they pretend to be. Target will not send you an email that requests personal information. If you ever have a concern about a Target email, do not give out any information. Call the guest relations at 1-800-440-0680 to verify that you were working with an official Target website.
where can you find more information?
Here are some other useful contacts regarding identity theft and online scams: Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC maintains an identity theft website that you may find helpful: www.consumer.gov/idtheft
1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) OnGuard
Onguard provides helpful tips to protect against internet fraud, secure your computer and protect your personal information.
www.onguardonline.gov/stopthinkclick.html 3 major credit bureaus
TransUnion www.transunion.com Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
This online video gives useful information on how to avoid online scams:
http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/guard/index.html consumer information
A detailed look at fighting back against identity theft:
REDcard™: Target Debit Card™, Target Credit Card™, and Target™ Mastercard®. Subject to application approval (Target Mastercard not available to new applicants). The REDcard credit cards (Target Credit Card and Target Mastercard) are issued by TD Bank USA, N.A. The REDcard debit card is issued by Target Corporation. Mastercard is a registered trademark of Mastercard International, Inc. Pat 7,562,048 and 8,117,118.