You’ve probably heard by now that Target had a significant breach with their card processing systems, putting 40 million card numbers at risk. Target is urging customers to watch their card statements for unauthorized activity. But Target has a unique offering that is different from a traditional credit or debit card: the RedCard Debit card. So what should you do if this number is compromised?
UPDATE: Target is offering free credit protection for 1 year to affected customers. Learn more at https://corporate.target.com/about/payment-card-issue.aspx
First, it’s important to note that your Target debit card isn’t a huge target for thieves because it has a serious limitation: it can only be used at Target stores and Target.com. It is also protected by your PIN. Now Target’s press release doesn’t address whether or not PIN numbers were compromised, but you can protect yourself by modifying the PIN number associate with your Target RedCard debit card. This can be done at the RedCard website, but due to increased traffic to the site, you may have difficulties logging on. Keep trying the site, or wait until an off-peak time (for example, the middle of the night or early in the morning) to modify your PIN. You can also call the number on the back of your card, but the phone lines are also swamped with increased calls.
Second, since the RedCard uses ACH withdrawals to debit your checking account, you may have additional protection from your financial institution. Check your bank’s “Error Resolution Disclosure” for electronic transactions to get the details, but you typically have a set period of time after receiving your statement to report errors and have them investigated. Again, please contact your bank for full details and to see if you are protected from this particular breach.
It’s important to monitor your accounts and watch for unauthorized activity, but this is something you should be doing anyways. To minimize the inconvenience if you do need a card reissued, it’s a good idea to have a backup card and/or bank account you can use until your new cards arrive.
While this may put a wrinkle in your holiday shopping, remember that there are many consumer protections in place to protect your money. However, your bank may not know there is an issue with your card until you discover it and bring it to their attention.