Local Experts Offer Advice on Protecting Your Credit Card Information

Lynchburg, VA - Following Target's announcement about a major security breach that could affect up to 40 million people, many local shoppers are worried.

The Lynchburg Target is advising its customers to change the PIN numbers on debit cards, and to check their credit card statements for suspicious activity.

ABC 13 also spoke with the owner of Rose Computer and Network Solutions Thursday. Lonnie Rose says it's important to note that not all of the cards numbers stolen will actually be used, but it never hurts to take precautions.

"It's kind of scary because so many people are using credit cards this time of year," said a local shopper. "People are just able to pick up your information so quick and you're trying to buy things and next thing you know you look at your card and all of your information is gone, your money's gone and you just can't buy nothing. It's just not safe to do anything no more."

Rose, however, says this is a rare case. Most theft pertaining to credit cards happens online.

In this case, the hackers got into Target's central server system, something all stores have.

"When a person swipes a card for purchase in the store, that information is sent to the store's central servers and stored there and processed for the sale," Rose explained.

If you made a purchase at Target between Black Friday and December 15, Rose says to stay on top of your account.

"If you haven't, go ahead and set up an online access to your credit card company so that you can take a look at your charges and monitor them closely over the next few weeks to a month to be sure there are no illicit charges. If there are, immediately let the credit card company know," Rose said.

Rose says just because hackers have your information, though, it doesn't mean they are going to use it.

"The odds of your particular card being used illegally is small, very small. Probably about the same order of odds of winning the lottery," Rose said.

Rose says the best thing is to have as few credit cards as possible. He says it's smart to use one card for in store purchases and a separate card for online purchases.

Rose also says that credit cards are safer than debit cards, because debit cards take funds directly from your checking account.