Nobody knows how many Missourians who have shopped at Target stores might be victims of a major data breach.  But the head of the Attorney General’s consumer protection office thinks the number could be tens  or hundreds of thousands. Division chief Joe Bindbeutel says as many as forty-million people shopped at Target between November 27 and December 15, when the breech was discovered. “Each and every one of those folks could be potentially victimized by the theft of information,” he says..

He says there are three things to do—watch for wrong entries on credit card bills and contact the card companies to have the unauthorized items removed, check personal credit ratings, and notify the Attorney General if the identity thieves have been using the personal information.

“I believe it would be prudent for people to call their credit card companies and get an immediate statement,” he says, “It is wise to protect yourself proactively by not waiting until the end of the month.”

He warns that some of the victims might find their holiday travels interrupted because credit card companies suspecting a cardholder is a victim of the Target breech might cancel a card and issue a new one while the cardholder is traveling, leaving the traveler without access to credit on that card, which is whyBindbeutel says Missourians should have more than one credit source. .

Customers who have used debit cards might need to keep a close eye on their bank accounts or even create new ones because debit cards allow thieves to make direct withdrawals without the protections credit card issuers provide.

AUDIO: Bindbeutel interview 10:18