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Target Security Breach: How to Protect Yourself

Target announced 40 million customers credit and debit card information may have been compromised. WHAG speaks with a local bank about how to stay safe.

HAGERSTOWN, Md -- Security officials are calling it one of the largest retailer data breaches in years. Target announced 40 million customers who used credit or debit cards at their stores in the past few weeks may be affected. They say specifically between November 27 and December 15.

The information taken includes the name on the card, the actual credit or debit card number, the expiration date, and even the three digit security code found on the back.

"It's kind of an inconvenient thing right this time of the year because customers are going to be Christmas shopping," said Steve Hummel of Columbia Bank.

Hummel says customers should remain alert, but also feel reassured. "All banks have major sophisticated software to track unusual or suspicous activity," he said.

Security officials say if you recently shopped at Target keep an eye on your credit or debit account. Hummel also suggests getting a credit report check.

"You have your own physical for your health, check your financial health and get your credit report," said Hummel.

Anyone can obtain a free credit report once a year by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. You may also contact the nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

"The hackers what they try to do is they're going to create counterfeit cards so that takes them a little bit of time too so it's going to be a process," said Hummel.

Hummel said counterfeit cards are mainly used for online purchases and at the ATM.

WHAG also reached out to Target. They said in a statement:

"Your trust is a top priority for Target, and we deeply regret the inconvenience this may cause. The privacy and protection of our guests' information is a matter we take very seriously and we have worked swiftly to resolve the incident."

Target says the issue is resolved, but it is working with law enforcement officials including the Secret Service.

Local officials in the Four State Area are also providing support.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a release: "Consumers should immediately report any unauthorized purchases or withdrawals immediately to local law enforcement and their financial institution, and then contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office. Consumers also should report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission."

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