THE ATTORNEYS GENERAL of Rhode Island and Massachusetts have announced that the two states will join a multistate investigation into the scope and cause of the data breach reported last month by Target Corp., which may have affected as many as 110 million Target customers nationwide.
PROVIDENCE – Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced Tuesday that Rhode Island has joined a multistate investigation into the Target Corp. data breach that occurred last month.
According to Target, hackers gained access to the credit and debit card information of approximately 40 million Target customers nationwide during November and December and compromised the personal information of as many as 70 million additional people.
“Initial reports that approximately 40 million customers were impacted by the Target data breach apparently were just the tip of the iceberg,” said Kilmartin. “The more recent announcement that approximately 110 million customers could be at risk is exactly why we need to get to the bottom of how Target allowed its systems to be vulnerable to a breach of this magnitude.”
The investigation aims to uncover the exact scope and impact of the breach, as well as the source of failure within Target’s data systems, according to attorney general’s office spokeswoman Amy Kempe.
Kilmartin urged Rhode Islanders who shop at Target to take advantage of the one year of free credit monitoring Target has offered in the wake of the data breach, regardless of whether their information was compromised in the breach.
Customers can register for free credit monitoring at https://creditmonitoring.target.com/. Offered through Experian’s ProtectMyID, the service provides a copy of a credit report, daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and access to personalized assistance from a fraud resolution agent.
Target customers may request an activation code by entering their name and email address at the retailer’s credit-monitoring website before April 23. Each person will then receive an email from Target within one to five days that will include a unique activation code and instructions on how to register the code with ProtectMyID.
In addition to encouraging the use of Target’s free credit monitoring, Kilmartin reminded consumers to change their PIN numbers and passwords to ensure financial information security.
“A breach of this magnitude is extremely disconcerting and we are participating in a multistate investigation to discover the circumstances that led to this breach,” said Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley, who announced Monday that the Bay State would also join the multistate investigation. “We expect Target to provide whatever measures are necessary to protect consumers from further harm.”
Like Kilmartin, Coakley stressed the importance of reviewing bank and credit card statements for unauthorized activity and warned consumers to beware phishing scams falsely offering credit protection to Target customers.
“Putting people’s economic security at risk is simply unacceptable,” said Kilmartin. “Companies must be more forthcoming when a breach occurs and must take appropriate steps immediately to inform customers as well as provide some type of protection going forward.”