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Scammers Targeting Target Shoppers

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If you’ve been following the news this holiday season, you’ve probably heard that Target shoppers may have been affected by the recent data breach. Target notified their customers of the breach via email.

Unfortunately, scammers follow the news, too. Scam artists may send out phony “Target” emails pretending to help, but they actually want to trick you into giving them your personal information. And they are skilled at making the emails look real. If you get an email that says it’s from Target, here’s what to look out for to make sure you don’t get scammed.

*If any email asks for your personal or financial information, it’s most likely a scam. Say the email asks for your credit card number to check whether your card was compromised by the breach. What do you do? Don’t reply. No legitimate business will ask for your personal information through unsecure methods like email.

*If there are links in the email, don’t click on them, even if they seem legit at first glance. Scammers can easily create links and sites that look like the real deal, but can install viruses to your device or direct you to spoof sites that exist to steal your information. Hovering over a link can reveal a deliberately misspelled web address, or a completely different destination. Your best bet is to type the URL directly into your browser.

During the holidays, scammers may send emails promising a free gift card, a new tablet or computer, or even a seasonal job in exchange for your financial information. Even though these offers may sound tempting, delete the message and keep your information to yourself.

If you think you’ve received a fake email, forward it to, and delete the message from your inbox. To learn more, read our article on how to deal with phishing scams.


I opened Cartwheel by Target e-mail today. Is that going to affect my Target card. Should I cancel my Target credit and debit cards??? So far my accounts were not affected by the recent data breach. Thanks, Janie Morbillo


I'm not sure who answered your email before, but they were wrong.

The scammers are slicker than simply using the Target logo -- they have are using he creditcard bank logos, and rather than mention Target al all (and raising the email openers' suspicions) they are requesting sign-ons and new passwords via a hotlinked URL (rogue/spoofed website). These scammers are using some readily available copyrighted tool to generate the email.
(Slithy toves all of them)

The real scammers are Target. About 15 years ago I took out a Target card in upstate NY in return for a 10% discount on items totalling less than $25. That day I paid in cash since the card was supposed to be mailed. About 6 months later (after NEVER receiving the card through the mail) I got a call from Target. They had an incorrect address and agreed to send another card which I never received and never used. A week after the call I got a bill in the mail saying I owed almost $4,000 for unpaid merchandise. They claim I left the store without paying which I would never do. I called and told them there was a mistake because these charges are illegal. They said they would look into it. Every 6 months or so I would get another bill offering a settlement if I paid a few 1,000 dollars. Over the years this amount has been reduced. The last offer (about 2 months ago) was a settlement offer for a few hundred dollars. My only regret is that I didn't save all letters and report it to the proper consumer fraud authorities. In conclusion, Target perpetuates scams, fraud and illegal unauthorized charges. Although this is well documented (it's posted all over the internet) they continue to get away with illicit activity. It's just a matter of time before they will be fully exposed and completely OUT OF BUSINESS for good. According to a very reliable source this will definitely happen before 2015. BUYER BEWARE when shopping at Target because you do so at your own risk of being scammed!!!

Peter this sounds like something you dreamed up. How would Target even know the dollar amount of unpaid merchandise that you supposedly had left with, and why would they keep reducing the amount that they say you owe? If you have a vendetta against Target then tell the truth and say so.

Peter, I agree with MT2412's reply to you. I believe you are misrepresenting the facts...and to predict the demise of Target by a certain date/year smacks of conspiratorial tendencies.

I also had a VERY similar situation that happened to me when shopping and writing a "Business check" for purchases. They also suggested that I fill out {The cashier assisted in doing it herself via the computerized register} a credit card application to save an additional 15% on my purchases that day. Plus it was pointed out to me it would be an added form of business ID for me for future check purchases. I allowed her ti fill it out "Assuming" she was adding the information as I gave it to her. Forgetting all about it after leaving and NOT remembering that I should have gotten a rejection letter IF and when the credit line was refused I went on about my life. 7 months later our business was contacted by the company and the Sheriff of that county. Seems the "Good Employee" that filed out my application that day added her own address and we never did get the credit card. BUT...the company who suspected her for prior acts like this had her under investigation and she had run up over 1200.00 on the card. its credit line was for only 1000 but the late charges accrued due to her not making any payments and me not even knowing the card was issued made the balance higher than the credit line. Long story short....she was arrested for fraud on more than 6 customers and our credit was erased with the store. I think this kind of thing is what might have happened to you...and I wish you would have looked further into WHY Target was thinking you owed them for so many charges and purchases. Its way past the point to do anything now as the statute of limitations have expired in a case 15 years old. If something like this ever happens again do NOT assume it was the store perpetuation the scam. Chances was someone who got your information and is running up your credit and committing a fraud against you.

Thank you

I really believe that everyone who has purchased a product and paid with a debit card and/or Target's new Debit Card are indeed affected more to some extent. Target should submit some type of letter directed to the credit bureaus explaining this issue and can be posted to each person who maybe and has been affected.

so its Sunday. I check my account to pay bills and guess what? there is none. charge upon charge made while I was sleeping. My banking web site tells me I have a new card on the way because the old one was used fraudulently at Target. But in the mean time how do I buy dinner for the kids tonight put gas in my truck and keep the lights on??

I will never shop at Target again. Thanks to the screw up, I now can't use my dept card at places I have used for years. THANKS A LOT!!! Target SUCKS

I somewhat agree, however, target is the only one that sells a product I can't find anywhere else,..... but I'm starting to like Walmart,

I never let target try to get into my account with that redcard target card offer,....every time I shop, they ask me to sign up for it,... no, no, and no,.....

I would like to be proactive and put a freeze on my credit reports going out. Why do we who are victims of Target's mess have to pay the credit reporting agencies a fee to put a freeze on and to remove a freeze when we apply for credit? In my state all credit reporting agencies want a $10 fee to add a freeze and to lift the freeze. Target and other stores that have compromised our credit information should have to foot the bill.

It's not the same as a credit freeze, but Target recently announced that the company will provide one year of free credit monitoring for people affected by the breach:

I shopped at target and my bank card information was taken . as soon I heard on the new. I canceled my card and put any alert on my credit report. well some how they also got my soc-sec. because of the alert. a cell company call me. target should have told me sooner. the new report was a week to late. I still have not received a letter. I will never shop there again.I joined life lock for 25.a month. wish I had sooner.

Email isn't the only way. I just got a call from 877-504-1038 saying our credit union debit card may have been compromised and could I confirm the name on the card ending in xxxx--they named the last 4 digits on our cards. I hung up on them, but they clearly have our number and our phone number. How can we stop identity theft now? don't give any info over the phone to anyone.

It's a management problem. Several years ago while shopping in New Bern, NC store the cashier apparently rang up an "extra" music CD which I didn't notice til I got home. I returned and showed the Manager who said there was nothing he could or would do about it including investigating his employee. I rarely shop Target anymore but got sucked in over Christmas because they had something I couldn't find anywhere else. Too bad I didn't have the foresight to pay cash.

Is a legit. site??

Yes, is the official site for people to get their free credit reports each year.

I had not shopped at Target during the credit card breach, but I got the January 15th message saying my e-mail address was one of those taken. As the e-mail advised, I typed the URL provided into my browser rather than following the link, and was prompted to enter name and e-mail to receive the activation code for the year of free credit monitoring. So far so good. Out of an abundance of caution before proceeding, I opened another tab and typed in the URL listed on the site for details of the offer. That's when I was redirected to a very fishy Free Credit Check site offering a 'one-day-only' free offer; the fine print indicated it was really a free 7-day trial which then converted automatically to a paid monthly subscription. When I tried to close the page, the web site tried to stop me with a pop-up dialog box. A few minutes later, I typed the exact same URL, and was directed to the actual Target corporate site with details of the offer as well as a link to this site. Be warned.

I did not receive a call from target or email. My bank Huntington called and said that they saw it was used on a certain date that coincided and sent me a new debit card. It took a week and it wasn't fast enough because I did end up having weird online sales delivered overseas for small amounts over it but Huntington was great and credited about 20 dollars back. What a great bank and boo target for not emailing me!

Did Target make an agreement with Experien to monitor your accounts?

Last week a thief applied for a Target credit card and was immediately approved and made a major purchase all at the same time. We even had a lock on our credit so I'm not sure why it was approved. However, Target did call to inquire if we had applied for the credit card. I am not sure if this had anything to do with the breach in December, but I suspect it did.

Oh,Oh...Target sounds mighty IFFY to me!

I just got scammed by Target. Over $500 in debit withdrawals. All transactions were made within two days!!! Really strange, as I haven't used my debit card at Target since July...

Ididn.t take eny mony with email till now.
I dident give eny order till now with email pealis protect me

I was taken for $500.00 when using the RedCard and have been trying to get it back for a year. It is obvious with the statement and receipts that I was scammed and I have filled out everything they required. I cannot get "Steve" who is in charge of this to even call me back. I WILL NEVER USE TARGET AGAIN!

My name is barbara Lewis. I was scammed and found out last nov when I tried to purchase a home. Never a bad mark on my credit. I'm over 70. Done all steps. I got one card removed off my credit. They opened a second card. Ran up 11,000 including late (no payment) and interest. Capitol one is the card that won't budge. What do I do now.

Go to to read about steps to take if you're an identity theft victim. You may want to place a fraud alert and credit freeze on your accounts to make it hard for a thief to open new accounts in your name. There are sample letters and forms you can use to write to the credit reporting companies about a dispute.

I created a account to order something through the website which they never have stocked in the store. Twelve hours later I began receiving hundreds of spam emails from credit card offers, "romance seekers", "Congrats Message for You", all with my first and last name in the subject line. I have not used this email to register for anything online in over a month, other than

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