Home > Identity Theft > What to Do When Your Free Credit Monitoring From Target Expires

Comments 0 Comments

You may have a lot on your holiday to-do list, but if you were a victim of last year’s Target data breach, you should add another item to that list: Check the status of your free credit monitoring.

Target, like many of the companies that experienced data breaches in the last year, offered customers the option of signing up for a year of free identity fraud protection. For customers who accepted Target’s offer early on, the free service through Experian’s ProtectMyID will expire soon, leaving users with the option of paying $9.95 a month (or $99.95 per year) to continue the service or letting the membership end.

“Target Guests were provided one year (12 months) of free membership in Experian’s ProtectMyID and will be notified of its expiration by Experian via email,” said Sandra Bernardo, public relations manager at Experian, in an email to Credit.com. “Members have 30 days from the date of expiration to pay for continuation of PMID. After 30 days members can contact ProtectMyID Customer Care and extend their membership via phone.”

Bernardo also noted that customers who continue their membership will have access to new features through a partnership with BillGuard, like 24/7 card fraud monitoring and alerts, card location alerts (using geolocation from the user’s mobile phone) and data breach alerts.

The credit monitoring market has a lot of different options for consumers to consider as well. Make sure when considering a credit monitoring service, you look at monthly cost and read the fine print on all of the services being offered.

Regarding the Target breach specifically, Molly Snyder, a Target public relations representative, sent a statement to Credit.com. The following is an excerpt of that statement:

Throughout the past year, we have detailed a number of actions we have taken to enhance security and will continue to invest in this area going forward. In addition, we have brought in new senior leadership including a new CIO and CISO who bring additional expertise in cyber security to Target. In addition, we continue to take an active role in helping to coordinate and promote information sharing across the industry by joining the Financial Services ISAC and the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center.

What to Do If Your Free Credit Monitoring Is Expiring

If you’re facing the option of paying for continued service or going back to life without it, know that you have some free options for monitoring for credit card and identity for signs of fraud. Here are a few tips for those who choose to go the DIY route.

1. Check Your Card Activity Daily

Log onto your bank or card account every day, either online or using a mobile app (always via a secure network), and look for any transactions you didn’t make. Doing this daily makes it much easier to spot unauthorized activity.

See if your card or bank offers free transactional alerts — if you get an alert about a purchase you didn’t make, you know to investigate it immediately, without having to log into your account. It’s a simple way to stay informed about what’s going on with your finances and prevent a thief from causing damage.

2. Check Your Credit Scores Regularly

If you look at your credit scores every month, you’ll notice if your score suddenly drops. (Note: You need to look at the same score each month, otherwise you’re not comparing apples to apples.) Looking at scores more sporadically won’t help you see such drastic changes, which may be an indication of fraud or identity theft.

You can get two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, with updates every 30 days.

3. Review Your Free Annual Credit Reports

You’re entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com. Look at them to make sure everything seems accurate. If you see accounts you didn’t open or anything else suspicious, dispute the item and use the contact information provided to find out what happened.

More on Identity Theft:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team