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Keeping Your Credit Information Safe

Eyewitness News talked to a consumer credit expert about ways to keep your information safe
Wilkes-Barre Township, Luzerne County - Target is sending out alerts to its customers to keep an eye on their bank accounts

They're asking customers to double check to see they've been the victim of what could be on the largest data breaches on record for a retailer.

"I use cash just to be on the safe side," Barbara Boch, a Meshoppen said.

Boch, who shops at Target, said she's been using cash to shop at the retail giant since she first caught word That nearly 40 million customers had their information stolen.

Earlier this week it was reported that number is now up to 110 million and according to the company's CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, it could still go even higher.

"This investigation is ongoing and it's going to take some time and it's going to take some time before we really understand the full extent of what's happened," Steinhafel said.

In the meantime Target is continuing to send out warnings to it's customers to monitor their accounts and watch for any unusual activity.

Terri Stocki, an education director with Consumer Credit Counseling Service in Pittston, had some tips for people on what they should watch for.

"If you've thought you've been a victim my first thing would be is to go online," she said. "(I would) check my account and see what the purchases are and make sure I made all of those purchases."

Stocki told Eyewitness News that if someone's information is compromised it doesn't always mean that big chunks of money will go missing. She said that's why it's important to hold onto receipts and check accounts often.

Stocki also advised that if someone sees a charge they didn't make they need to act right away.

"Month by month," she said in response to how often she would check an account. "I mean the longer you get it go the longer it's going to take to try and go back and get credit for that. I mean you may have a certain time frame to report it as well."

Stocki said the best way to hold onto your personal information is in the checkout line. She advised using cash whenever possible. That's because she said that credit cards are safer than debit cards because you don't need to share as much information.

"I think we all have to be educated to some degree learning how to use everything and knowing how and making sure everything is secure," Stocki said.

Target, along with some other businesses, are offering free credit monitoring.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has warned people to be make you choose a reputable company when looking for a credit monitoring service. In a statement she said that several scam websites have been found that are trying to further victimize consumers whose personal information may have been taken from Target.

Customers can register for a year of free credit protection services at Target's official website, creditmonitoring.target.com.

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