Robb Hicken: Tips to limit possible credit card fraud

Special to the Idaho StatesmanJanuary 23, 2014 

Nampa resident Denise Rotell suspected that she’d had her credit card information compromised after shopping at Target before the holidays.

Like millions of others, she contacted Target, checked her credit card statements, and contacted her banks. She thought everything was taken care of.

“I received an email from Target saying I was eligible to have my credit monitored for a year due to the hacking of their accounts,” she said.

While unexpected to be contacted by Target, she was relieved. Target detailed on Monday how the free credit monitoring works. As many as 70 million customers may have lost credit and debit cards data between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

Rotell’s next call was to the Better Business Bureau to verify the authenticity of the email she’d received.

The email explained the year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection offered to customers and the three-month activation period. If you were affected, go to and register before April 23. Visit Target’s website or call 866-852-8680.

In addition to email contact, the company advertised in major newspapers across the United States taking responsibility for the data breach, apologizing to its customers and offering solutions. Those solutions include the convening of “a coalition to help educate the public on the dangers of consumer scams.”

BBB, National Cyber Security Alliance, and National CyberForensics and Training Alliance will participate in the coalition. BBB educates consumers and businesses on how to protect themselves from these types of fraud.

“Working with this new cybersecurity coalition is a good way to leverage and promote BBB’s mission of advancing trust in the marketplace,” said Kathrine Hutt, director of communications for the Council of Better Business Bureau.

Personal responsibility for credit and debit card information begins with you. Here are tips to consider.

1. Carry only the cards you need. Many consumers carry every credit/debit card they have. Theft of a card is reduced if unused cards are left at home.

2. Cancel unused cards. After canceling cards, the consumer should cut them into small strips before disposing.

3. Do not write Personal Identification Numbers on the back of credit/debit cards. BBB recommends that consumers never write down their PIN and carry it in a wallet or purse.

4. Write “Check Photo ID” on the back of all cards. Instead of signing the back of a credit/debit card, write “check photo ID” in the signature block. Many banks also now issue credit/debit cards that display a consumer’s photograph.

5. Check credit card bills and bank statements carefully every month. Online banking services allow consumers to check transactions even more frequently.

6. Make copies of all credit/debit cards. Place the copies in a secure location. If cards are stolen or lost, all relevant contact information is on hand. This will also help limit the damage.

7. Remain wary of “Pre-Approved Credit” offers. Unopened credit card offers are targets for ID thieves who use the application to apply for credit in your name. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) for information.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

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