Target sent an email last week offering one year of free credit monitoring to those affected by their massive 2013 security breach involving in excess of 70 million people. However, many scammers are preying on already vulnerable consumers by sending similar-looking emails to phish for personal information. So how do you know if the email you received from Target is legitimate? We’ll give you some tips for spotting a fake.
Tip 1: Visit the Target website to ensure the Target email you receive(d) matches the one the retailer sent. Pay attention to the link included within the body of the email and ensure the page you land on after clicking the link is https://creditmonitoring.target.com/.
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If you received an email that does not match the information noted above and entered any personal information on an external website, it’s important you take action immediately. Request a copy of your credit report, monitor your bank account and card activity closely, and inform the credit reporting agencies of the situation. If you entered your debit or credit card information on an external website that you reached through an illegitimate email, contact the institution that issued the card to have it frozen and replaced with a new one. As a reminder, all United Heritage Credit Union full service branches offer Instant Issue debit cards so you can replace your debit card immediately should it be compromised.
Tip 2: Be wary of any email you receive asking for personal information such as your Social Security Number, payment card numbers, phone number or address. Target’s email does not ask you to divulge any of this information. Instead, it directs you to a website where you can receive an activation code to sign up for the retailer’s free credit monitoring service. Since Target’s credit monitoring is free, any email you receive asking you to pay for the service is fraudulent. Do not be misled and enter your debit or credit card information.
Tip 3: Consider numerous grammatical errors and/or misspelled words a red flag. Target, or any other reputable company, will not send an email to customers littered with mistakes. Delete any emails you receive that contain such content.
Tip 4: If there is a sense of urgency in any communication you receive, be cautious of what’s being solicited and how you respond. Many scammers use this manipulation tactic so their victims react quickly before having time to process any suspicious cues contained in the offer. According to the real Target email, consumers have until April 24, 2014 to register on creditmonitoring.target.com and until April 30, 2014 to redeem their activation codes for free credit monitoring. Target is not forcing those affected to take advantage of their offer and is providing ample time for action.
We hope these tips are helpful and prevent you from being scammed – now or in the future. For more information on how United Heritage protects its members from fraud and how you can protect yourself, visit the Fraud Protection section of our website.
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