Target is advising customers to check their credit card statements -- if they swiped their cards at a Target store between November 27th and December 15th.
The company says 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been exposed in a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear. Online buyers are not affected, but if you swiped a card at a store terminal, thieves could potentially have your name, card number and even the security code from the back.
Peggy Penders from the Better Business Bureau of Western New York says the first thing to do if you think you might have been compromised is to check your card statements right away, online if possible. Don't wait for the statement in the mail. Notify your finance companies as soon as possible if anything looks fishy. Credit card users aren't liable for fraudulent charges, but money taken from your account because someone used your debit card number is gone for good.
And Penders says you need to make regular checks of your statement and at least annual checks of your credit history a regular thing. Data thieves will sometimes wait a year or two before using stolen card numbers until they think you're not watching anymore.