In the wake of the security breach at Target during the holiday season, they are offering a free year of credit monitoring for all customers who shopped at their stores in the US. I shopped only once during the holiday season and for that reason I did register with Target to get the free credit monitoring. You must register to get the credit monitoring.
Here’s how to sign up:
■ To request an activation code, enter your name and email address on Target’s website, creditmonitoring.target.com. The deadline to request the code is April 23. Credit reports are for a person, not a credit card number, so people who used multiple credit or debit cards at Target only need to sign up once.
■ Within one to five days, Target will send an email with a unique activation code and instructions on next steps. If you request a code and don’t receive one in five days, check your junk or spam folder. I received mine within 24 hours.
■ Once you receive the activation code, go to http://www.protectmyid.com/target to register the code with Experian. As part of the registration process, customers will be asked for their Social Security number. This is done to verify the person’s identity and ensure no one else has access to the information, according to Target. Payment is covered by Target, so no payment information is necessary to register. The deadline to register the code is April 30.
As part of the one year of free credit monitoring, customers will get a free copy of their Experian credit report. The free credit report will be available online for 30 days to those who sign up online. The report does not include a credit score.
As part of the credit monitoring, consumers also will get alerts that reflect changes to their Experian credit report during that year. That includes new inquiries, newly opened accounts and new derogatory information.
If you are confirmed to be a victim of identity theft you will be assigned an Experian fraud resolution agent, who will help walk them through the fraud resolution process.
Victims of identity theft relating to the Target data breach also will be covered by a $1 million insurance policy that can help cover costs, including lost wages, private investigator fees and unauthorized electronic fund transfers for a year. I wouldn’t be surprised if down the line they didn’t cover more than one year. A recent report that I heard on television said that these hackers could hold on to your information for a while before using it. If you are worried, you might want to ask your credit card issuers to give you new credit card numbers but remember, the real risk is your stolen identity with your address, etc. Be diligent and monitor your credit card charges every week. Access to personalized assistance from a fraud resolution agent will continue after the one-year ProtectMyID membership expires, Target said.
Target said people will not automatically be re-enrolled after a year. However, customers can choose to continue the coverage at their own expense. If you are not already covered by credit monitoring, then you should consider continuing the coverage.