What Target has Taught us About Identity Theft

Social_security_cardIn the wake of the huge data breach at Target, the large corporation is now in recovery mode as they try to win back the trust of their customers. As Target try’s to gain trust back, they are offering all of their customers one year of free credit monitoring. All you have to do is sign up for the service by April 30th and you will receive free credit monitoring for a year from the credit bureau, Experion. Through the service you receive a credit report from Experion and they will notify you when there are changes to your credit history.

Target is also offering ID theft insurance which will include about $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage. However, the insurance will mainly cover incidental expenses and not monetary losses. The insurance will include coverage for lost wages as for your time spent repairing your damaged credit in the event that your identity is stolen. Basically, Target’s policy is not exactly helping you protect yourself from getting your identity stolen, it is simply notifying when there is something to be concerned about. 

Now you’re thinking, if Target’s service is only notifying me in the event that my identity is stolen, how do I actually protect myself from identity theft?

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Never carry you’re social security card or number around with you in your wallet. In the event that you forget your wallet somewhere or it was stolen, it makes it much easier for thieves to open an account in your name if your SS number is in it.
  • Use password managing software to protect all of your passwords.
  • Always monitor and keep track of your bank statements as well as your credit card statements.
  • Send any important documents with your personal or financial information through a paper shredder if you no longer need them.
  • Keep strong passwords on your laptops, tablets, cell phones, or any other electronic devices.
  • If you are getting cash back from an ATM be careful about what eyes might be watching you as you enter your PIN number.
  • Don’t save passwords on your work or any other public computer.
  • Avoid phishing scams that target you via email and ask for personal information. These emails can be disguised as your bank, cellphone, or brokerage company.

The identify theft protection service that Target is offering is a great way to act as a security blanket from identity theft. However, there are preventative measures that you can take in order to keep yourself protected. Thieves may still have a way to get your information, but you should be making sure that you are keeping your information as secure as you possibly can.

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