It’s not something anyone wants to deal with around the holiday season, but about 40 million Americans are keeping a close eye on their bank accounts after Target announced a security breach with debit and credit cards used in its stores.
The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three digit security codes on the backs of cards.
Anyone who shopped at Target and paid with a debit or credit card between Nov. 27th and Dec. 15th could be a victim.
The Secret Service is investigating, but experts say there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
"If you are a victim, or think you are a victim, or you need someone to talk to, call your financial institution. They will walk you through the steps to get you back on track," said Travis Carley, the vice president of G.E.C.U. in La Crosse.
Carley said the first thing you should do is check your bank account by heading to your financial institution or going online.
"You're basically looking for anything out of the norm or normal transactions you didn't do," said Carley.
Carley said you are the best person to notice if something doesn’t look right.
"You know your spending habits; you know where you are in the world, what you spend, where you get credit from, what loans you have and where your money is spent," said Carley.
If you find something doesn’t add up when looking at your bank statement, Carley said you should close down your card and have your financial institution issue you a new one.
Your financial institution will help you remove the charges from your account, but it may take a little extra effort from you in the long run.
"The fight comes long term. If something comes up on your credit report that you didn't do, it does take quite a bit of effort by you to get that off your credit report." said Carley.
Going forward, Carley said you want to limit your chances of being a target of fraud.
"What you want to do is slim down your avenues for fraud, Always keep your receipts, always verify your receipts. That's your protection against what you actually paid for," said Carley.
Wisconsin's Better Business Bureau is reminding everyone to watch out for scams. They usually pose as your bank or credit card issuer and tell you your card has been compromised by Target. Then they proceed to ask for personal information. Contact your financial institution immediately if you are unsure or have any questions regarding your account.