Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is warning consumers to monitor more than just their credit card statements in the wake of big data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus stores.
Madigan, along with Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, is leading a multi-state investigation into the Target breach.
Target revealed in early January that names, addresses, and phone numbers were among the information stolen, increasing the risk of identity theft.
Madigan says the magnitude of the Target data hack should be a wakeup call to all shoppers to be prepared for security breaches.
“You now have a right, under federal law, to receive one free copy of your credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies,” Madigan said in a prepared audio clip. “My recommendation is you stagger those, so you get one [report] every four months of the year.”
In addition, people affected by the Target breach can sign up for a year of free credit monitoring service.
Madigan also says most cardholders can set up online account alerts.
“This will let you know instantly if somebody is using your debit or credit card in an unauthorized manner and will allow you to immediately contact your creditor and the credit reporting agencies,” Madigan said.
Other recommendations include canceling cards or changing PIN numbers and passwords, contesting any unauthorized charges that appear on your statement, and signing up for the free credit monitoring service available to people affected by the Target breach.