Midlands Beware of Target Breach

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Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — In the midst of federal officials and Target executives investigating how millions of consumers’ information was stolen in a security breach, there are some things you can do now to lessen the blow. That 40-million targeted at Target includes folks right here in the Midlands, say consumer affairs officials. They say, moving forward, keep three keep things in mind: cash, credit cards and caution. “Monitor statements when they come in the mail with a fine tooth comb.” That’s the first piece of advice offered by South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs spokesperson, Juiliana Harris. Officials warn Midlands residents, do your own due diligence. It’s likely, they say, you became a target of computer hackers just like the corporation, anytime you swiped plastic at that red ‘point-of-sale’ device at the check out counter. That’s what thieves got into, accessing some 40-million customers credit and debit card information. “It’s very shocking,” said one customer. “I use cash!” remarked another. Using cash is your first line of defense, according to officials. If you must use plastic, they recommend a credit card, not using your debit card as credit. Here’s why. “Credit cards offer more consumer protection than a debit card,” said Harris. “Your debit card is connected straight to your bank account. If you lose it or someone steals the number then they can take funds right out of your bank account. You can change a credit card number, close a bank account. That’s easier to mediate than say your social security number being stolen.” The third thing is set up a fraud alert on your accounts, and call your banking institution the moment you notice something strange on your financial statements. Consumer Affairs has a newly Identity Theft unit set up specifically to address such issues. They say you have to be aggressive because thieves are. Call 1-800-922-1594.

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