Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Watch out for emails with fake Target websites

More fallout from that massive data breach from national retailer Target: fraudulent emails could be headed to your inbox.  If you get an email asking you to click on a link with “Target” in the web address, be cautious.

Soon after Target announced the security breach in December, dozens of new domain names were registered online that include “Target” along with words like “breach” or “credit cards” in the web address.

Email addresses for as many as 70 million U.S. consumers may have been stolen as part of the breach, and scammers may send phishing emails to those addresses.  These phony emails could look like they come from Target and include one of the suspicious web addresses.  The emails could be easy to fall for, especially if you are eager for information about how to deal with problems caused by the breach.

To protect yourself:

·   Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or click on unfamiliar links. Even if the email includes a real-looking logo or legitimate sounding link, it could be a scam.

·   Beware of any email or text message that asks for your personal information. Even if the message doesn’t mention Target, it could still be a scam.  Scammers may claim your account with another store, your bank or your power company has been compromised and ask for your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number.  Legitimate companies will not ask you for this information this way.

·   Never share personal financial information by email or text message, even with someone you know and trust, because it is not secure.

·   Report phishing attempts related to the Target breach.  File a complaint with our Consumer Protection Division at or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina. Also, forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission at

·   If you need to contact Target, go to a web address you know to be valid.  The real website set up to provide free credit monitoring for Target customers is

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