I Received an Email From Target

By Henry Bagdasarian

January 2014

Although somewhat surprising to me, I received an email from Target on January 15, 2014 to notify me about the fact that I was one of the potential victims of their data breach which occurred in mid December 2013 and that Target was offering a free credit monitoring service for one year which makes me feel much better since I now have to detect potential fraud caused by the breach, dispute the charges, and follow up. As I mentioned, receiving the email was surprising to me because I can’t remember shopping at Target recently let alone whether I was at Target in mid December. I have included the actual email I received from Target below but a couple of important points I noticed are that the email states my personal information "may" have been compromised which makes me wonder how much the company knows about the breach, and second, if I did not shop at Target recently, could it indicate that credit and debit cards used at Target prior to the data breach were also compromised. Below is the actual unedited Target email about the breach:

Dear Target Guest,

As you may have heard or read, Target learned in mid-December that criminals forced their way into our systems and took guest information, including debit and credit card data. Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion. I am truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret any inconvenience it may cause you. Because we value you as a guest and your trust is important to us, Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all Target guests who shopped in U.S. stores, through Experian’s® ProtectMyID® product which includes identity theft insurance where available. To receive your unique activation code for this service, please go to creditmonitoring.target.com and register before April 23, 2014. Activation codes must be redeemed by April 30, 2014. In addition, to guard against possible scams, always be cautious about sharing personal information, such as Social Security numbers, passwords, user IDs and financial account information. Here are some tips that will help protect you:

  • Never share information with anyone over the phone, email or text, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, ask for a call-back number.
  • Delete texts immediately from numbers or names you don’t recognize.
  • Be wary of emails that ask for money or send you to suspicious websites. Don’t click links within emails you don’t recognize. Target’s email communication regarding this incident will never ask you to provide personal or sensitive information. Thank you for your patience and loyalty to Target. You can find additional information and FAQs about this incident at our Target.com/databreach website. If you have further questions, you may call us at 866-852-8680.

Gregg Steinhafel

Chairman, President and CEO

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The Registration Process

The registration process only required name and email address and after I registered, I was told that an activation code will be sent within 72 hours which can be used to register for credit monitoring on protectmyid.com website. This email verification is the Target way to validate the individual who is requesting free credit monitoring because it can get pretty expensive if anyone who never shops at Target could also register for a one year free credit monitoring. The website which Target has established to allow its data breach victims register for free credit monitoring provided the information below:

A few important things to know:

  • Be wary of calls or email scams that may appear to offer protection but are really trying to get personal information from you. Please navigate directly to websites rather than clicking on links within emails.
  • Guests have until April 23, 2014 to sign up to receive an activation code. Activation codes must be redeemed by April 30, 2014.
  • The information captured in this process will not be used for any purpose other than providing you with credit monitoring services.Please note: if you are receiving other Target communications (e.g., weekly circular, Cartwheel, Target.com deals), you will continue to receive those offers and emails.

After I provided my name and email address to register for free credit monitoring, I immediately received the following warnings on the website and the activation code by email in less than 5 minutes which I can use to sign up for a one year free credit monitoring at protectmyid.com:

a few reminders:

  • Be wary of calls or email scams that may appear to offer protection but are really trying to get personal information from you.
  • Activation codes must be redeemed by April 30, 2014.
  • The information captured in this process will not be used for any purpose other than providing you with credit monitoring services.

In order to avoid phishing scams since we expect them to increase as the news of mass Target emails spreads, please make sure you visit https://creditmonitoring.target.com/ directly and only enter your name and email address on this page to receive the activation code.

You can also visit the dedicated Target website to learn more about the breach at https://corporate.target.com/about/payment-card-issue

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