Target offers free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 15, 2014 - 5:50 AM

The offer to customers includes identity theft protection but not a free credit score. Experts recommend signing up.

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Target’s efforts to regain customers’ trust after a massive data breach include an offer of daily credit card monitoring, identity theft insurance and access to a fraud resolution agent.

Any Target customer who shopped in one of its U.S. stores is eligible for a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection, Target announced this week. The service is called ProtectMyID from Experian, a credit monitoring company.

Those who sign up before April 23 and enroll with a code by April 30 will receive a free copy of their credit report along with the other services.

Target’s free offer is typical of those offered by most retailers after a security breach, said Dianne Cutter, CEO of Asurency Protection in Chaska, an identity theft and fraud protection company.

“It’s a good idea to take them up on it,” she said. “But consumers should still look at their credit report to look for any changes.”

Dan Hendrickson, spokesman for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, also recommends getting the free coverage, even if a person hasn’t noticed unauthorized charges.

“It makes sense to sign up regardless. Often there’s a period of two to three months without any fraudulent activity and something pops up.”

Target revealed last week that the data theft was even bigger than originally thought, with up to 110 million people at risk by the exposure of credit and debit card numbers, as well as mailing addresses and other personal information.

Consumers who want the credit monitoring can start the process at https://creditmonitoring.target.com. An e-mail address and name is required to sign up. Target will e-mail an activation code within one to five days to enroll. Then consumers will complete the process with the code at www.protectmyid.com/target. Name, address, date of birth and Social Security number are required.

Jacqui DuBois of Plymouth has already taken Target up on its free offer. “I signed up for it because I don’t have time to monitor my accounts as closely as I would like to,” she said.

Consumers without computer access can call 1-866-852-8680 to start the process.

ProtectMyID does not include a credit score or reports from other credit reporting agencies such as Equifax or TransUnion, although enrollees are given the opportunity to purchase extra services at their own expense.

The free monitoring and identity theft protection will end one year after the consumer registers with Experian. At that point, customers can pay for the protection but there will be no automatic enrollment, according to the credit monitoring FAQs on Target’s website.

The cost of credit monitoring services varies from $120 to $300 per year for consumers, according to Consumer Reports, but Target is probably paying much less. “They get it for a really cheap price,” Cutter said.

 

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633

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