HONOLULU — While there is still no Target store on Maui, there remains a high probability that Maui residents may have shopped at Target stores in Hawai’i, becoming unwitting victims in a nightmarish identitiy theft case that affects millions across the nation. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) today urged all Hawaii residents who shop at Target stores to take advantage of one year of free credit monitoring being offered by the retail company in the wake of the massive data breach announced last month.
“The Office of Consumer Protection strongly recommends that all Target customers, regardless of whether they’ve identified suspicious activity in their personal accounts, take advantage of this offer,” OCP Executive Director Bruce Kim said. “Additionally, consumers who have not done so already should take the proactive steps of changing their PIN numbers and passwords. The Office of Consumer Protection is continuing to monitor the situation to ensure that consumers receive all the protections they deserve in the wake of this serious nationwide data breach.”
Last month, Target first reported a data breach involving the payment card information of 40 million customers had been obtained by hackers during November and December 2013. The stolen information included credit and debit card data, customer names and PIN (personal identification data) numbers. Last week, Target revealed that hackers also stole a second batch of data that included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for up to 70 million people. Some estimates now range as high as 110 million shoppers. In the past weeks, high-end retailer Neiman-Marcus has also been in the deadlines as a possible “target” of similar serious data hacking and customer vulnerability.
Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all Target customers. Beginning today, consumers can register for free credit monitoring at creditmonitoring.target.com. Target’s website provides answers to frequently asked questions concerning the credit monitoring at: https://corporate.target.com/about/payment-card-issue/credit-monitoring-FAQ.aspx.
The free credit monitoring will be offered through Experian’s ProtectMyID, and the service provides a copy of a credit report, daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance (except where prohibited by law) and access to personalized assistance from a fraud resolution agent.
Target has provided the following information for consumers looking to take advantage of this program:
- Consumers who shopped in U.S. stores may request an activation code by entering their name and email address at creditmonitoring.target.com 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 the code with ProtectMyID.
- Consumers will have until April 30, 2014, to register their code with ProtectMyID.
- Emails collected during the process of creating activation codes will only be used for the purpose of sending an activation code to enroll in free credit monitoring.
Consumers should be alert for suspicious unsolicited emails or text messages bearing Target logos or using the word “Target” in the website address. There may be “phishing” scams purporting to be from Target seeking personal information from unsuspecting consumers. If you’ve received such an email, and have any doubt as to its authenticity, please do not open it and delete it from your email file.
Consumers with questions are encouraged to visit target.com/databreach or to contact Target directly at 866-852-8680.
OCP has been monitoring the situation that has affected at least 121,000 Hawaii shoppers. The office has agreed to a joint investigation into the breach with other states.
OCP is the primary agency responsible for reviewing, investigating and prosecuting allegations of unfair or deceptive trade practices in consumer transactions.