Standard disclosure: we may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post. Visit my disclosure page for more info
People are still reeling from the massive credit card data breach that afflicted Target and other retailers across North America. While much of the cyber attack was directed towards point of sale terminals in US retail stores, the data breach has also compromised Canadian credit card accounts.
Target Canada is responding very strongly to the attack, which is not very surprising as the company has only been operational in Canada for a few years. While the brand is well known, customers are not as loyal to Target as to other retail stores with years of experience in Canada.
This could be one of the main reasons that Target is choosing to provide a free year of credit monitoring services under the Equifax Complete Advantage Plan. Equifax helps people monitor their own credit scores, and quickly identify or report any errors on their reports – for a fee of $14.95 per month.
Target’s decision to provide a free year of credit monitoring will provide some relief to Canadian credit card users. The data breach hacked into point of sale terminals, copying names, expiry dates, and account numbers of affected credit cards.
Hackers often use the data they skim from these machines to go on fraudulent spending sprees that damage the credit scores of the victims. But a free year of credit monitoring will ideally encourage more Canadians to use the service, and track any irregularities on their credit reports that might be a result of the attack.
Many Canadians are also choosing to cancel their credit cards, and apply for new ones altogether as an alternative security measure. Using the Equifax service should help prevent most cases of fraud without needing to acquire a brand new credit card, but it is still an option to help improve credit card account security.