CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As many as 40 million Target customers had their credit and debit card information stolen by thieves this holiday season, including the Black Friday weekend.

Here's some tips from the North Carolina Attorney General if you think your personal information may have been compromised:

Step 1: Sign Up for Free Services

Some businesses or government agencies offer security breach victims a free service such as credit monitoring. While most offers are genuine, don t provide private information without verifying that the credit monitoring service is legitimate.

Step 2: Notify the Credit Bureaus
Request a fraud alert from one of the credit bureaus. This tells banks and other creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.

A fraud alert is free and will last 90 days unless you request an extended seven-year fraud alert and provide a police report. You ll also get a free copy of your credit report, which you should review carefully.

To request a fraud alert, contact one of the three nationwide credit bureaus.
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

Step 3: Consider a Security Freeze
A security freeze stops access to new credit in your name. Placing a security freeze prohibits credit reporting agencies from releasing any information about you to new creditors without your approval, making it difficult for an identity thief to use your information to open an account or obtain credit.

North Carolina consumers can now get free security freezes online. Identity theft victims who have filed a police report, their spouses, and consumers over the age of 62 can also get free security freezes by mail or phone. Other consumers can get security freezes by mail or phone for a fee.

Step 4: Monitor Your Credit
Continue to review your credit reports every few months. Your private information that was released in the security breach may not be used right away. You can request a free credit report annually.

Step 5: Notifying Law Enforcement
Most law enforcement will not issue you a police report until your private information is actually used by an ID thief. If you have any suspicion that your information is being used by a thief, contact local law enforcement immediately.

For Target customers that have any questions about their security breach you can contact them at 866-852-8680 or visit Target's website.

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