News of a widespread security breach affecting up to 40 million Target customers nationwide is hardly the holiday gift shoppers were hoping for, including Kathy Schmuck who used her Target credit card during the compromised time-period.
"My first reaction was that I only used my Target card once a year and I paid it off about two weeks ago," Schmuck said.
The most recent hack of personal information brings to light that identity theft can happen anytime and anywhere.
"There just is a lot of things out there and we have to be alert all the time which is really unfortunate but it's just the world we live in now," AARP South Dakota Dir. Sarah Jennings said.
South Dakota received $11 million back in fraud money last year, and the attorney general's office fielded 20,000 fraud complaints.
AARP South Dakota Director Sarah Jennings says South Dakotans need to learn how to spot and avoid identity theft.
"In South Dakota, we're just finding that the scammers are getting more creative, they're getting more aggressive," Jennings said.
"They are certainly getting bolder," SD Attorney General Marty Jackley said. "The Target situation, where it could affect 40 million people, certainly they're going to include South Dakotans."
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says it's critical to look over bank and credit card statements.
"Some of those things are out of consumers' hands but they have opportunities to protect your own financial information," Jackley said. "Don't give out information that is sensitive: social security numbers, bank account information. That stuff is very important to our consumers."
That's advice that Schmuck takes to heart.
"But I do check every statement. I save my receipts and I check every statement," Schmuck said.
To prevent more victims, South Dakota Attorney General partners with AARP to set up South Dakota Fraud Watch Network.
The free program, available to anyone, sends out information about current scams going around South Dakota to make sure as many people as possible know how to avoid becoming a victim.
If you feel you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam, contact the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-800-300-1986.
While this security breach at Target is capturing a lot of attention, you might be surprised to learn things like this happen nearly everyday.
A California-based privacy rights clearinghouse has a data base tracking on-line security problems back to 2005.
A quick scan of the most recent reports show a who's who of retailers, major websites and universities.
It also lists many small businesses and state government agencies that have been hacked: https://www.privacyrights.org/data-breach