Local Financial Experts Urge Credit Checks After Target Breach Grows

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is suggesting customers hit by the Target data breach should consider credit-monitoring.

Target says about 40 million credit and debit card holders may have been impacted by a massive security lapse between November 27th and December 15th, 2013.

Company leaders later said hackers stole personal information from about 70 million customers. Target is now offering free-credit monitoring for shoppers.

Target Customer Ben Roethig says he'll take advantage of Target's offer.

"I plan on changing the numbers, and I plan on signing up for the free protection that Target offers," Roethig said.

Target now says the hackers also gained access to customers phone numbers, email and home addresses. But, experts at DuTrac Community Credit Union says the thieves don't have one important thing.

DuTrac Community Credit Union's Jason Norton said, "The most critical piece of information any person can have of yours is your social security number. You use it to confirm your identity. People say, 'give me the last four of your social'. "

Still, Norton urges everyone to get a credit check. Just in case.

"The hackers can send you a letter that you may think came from, say the state of Iowa. Or Wisconsin. Then they say, 'to confirm this identity please write down your social security number in the return mail piece'. "

As for Roethig, he's a freelance writer for GeekBeat.TV , an online technology program. So he knows a few things about the Internet.

He says simply going back to paying with cash just isn't an option.

"That world doesn't exist anymore. I mean you have a chance to it, " Roethig said.

And that's a chance he feels better taking after checking his credit report.
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