Categorized | Business

Residents urged to take precautions following Target data breach


The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection urges Hawaii residents to take precautions if they believe they may be affected by a recent data breach involving Target stores.

Businesses are required by Hawaii law to notify customers of any security breach involving personal information in any form following discovery of the breach.

Hawaii law also requires businesses to notify the Office of Consumer Protection about the breach without unreasonable delay as well as information on the timing, distribution and content of the notices sent by the business to affected persons.

The Office of Consumer Protection has received reports of a data breach involving Target, which may affect a number of Hawaii residents.

Target’s website has reported that computer hackers obtained credit and debit card information from purchases made at company stores between Nov. 27, 2013 to Dec. 15, 2013.

This breach may have included unauthorized access to payment card data, including customer names, credit or debit card numbers, the card’s expiration date and the Card Verification Value (CVV) (the three-digit security code).

Current estimates are that data connected to approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts may be have been stolen. The breach involved transactions at Target stores when the cards were swiped.

Target reports that it did not involve information obtained during online purchases.

The Office of Consumer Protection is currently seeking confirmation from Target representatives that the notice required by state law has been or will be sent to affected Hawaii residents as well as verification of the number of Hawaii residents affected by the breach.

Anyone who believes they may be affected and have questions can call Target toll-free at 1-866-852-8680.

Target has advised its customers that if you used a non-Target credit or debit card at a Target store between Nov. 27, 2013 and Dec. 15, 2013, and have questions about activity on your card, please contact the issuing bank by calling the number on the back of your card. Target card holders should contact Target directly.

“This is a very serious breach affecting a significant number of people,” said Bruce Kim, Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection. “Any Hawaii residents who believe they may be at risk because of this incident are urged to take immediate steps to protect their personal credit information as well unauthorized access to their credit or debit card accounts. It is critical for those affected to use the contact information provided by Target and get current information on what they can do to protect themselves.”

If you believe you that you have been a victim of identity theft, the following may of help you:
Identity Theft Warning Signs

* Unauthorized charges on your credit card

* Receiving credit cards that you did not seek

* Missing credit card bills

* Calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise you did not buy or services you did not authorize

* Being denied credit or offered credit at less favorable terms for no apparent reason

* Unauthorized credit cards or charges on your credit report

Tips on Protecting Yourself Following a Security Breach

* Contact your creditors, including credit card companies, banks, and other lenders, to determine whether there is any suspicious or unauthorized activity that has occurred on your accounts.

* Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Order it and review it for problems.

* Contact any of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert does not block potential new credit, but places a comment on your history. Creditors should contact you prior to opening a new account. You only need to contact one of the three companies because that company is required to contact the other two. Once you place a fraud alert on your file, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. The credit reporting agencies will send you a letter telling you how to order your free report. When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully and look for any suspicious activity.

* Be alert. It’s especially important in the first year following a security breach notification.

All consumers can obtain a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies, regardless of whether they have been identity theft victims.

Call 1-877-322-8228 or request one online at

You can request a report from one of the reporting companies every four months and carefully review this report for suspicious activity.

Credit Reporting Agencies:

* Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

* Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

* TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

As the consumer counsel for the state, the Office of Consumer Protection is the primary agency responsible for reviewing, investigating and prosecuting allegations of unfair or deceptive trade practices in consumer transactions.

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