Consumer Reports: Target’s Identify Theft Protection Misses the Mark

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Following its massive data breach, Target (NYSE:TGT) offered its customers free identify theft protection as part of its promise to help them deal with the fallout that resulted from the security theft and mitigate consumer concern. However, according to a Consumer Reports analysis published last week, Target cheated its customers by going the cheapest route and only offering what the publication calls “second-rate credit-monitoring services.”

Time highlighted the Consumer Reports analysis on Tuesday and reported that the publication is less than impressed with Target’s new services. Consumers already complained about the amount of time it took the retailer to provide useful information about the data breach and make available its promised theft protection service. But now that the protection is finally here, many consumers and advocates are still not satisfied.

Although Consumer Reports says that people shouldn’t turn down Target’s free monitoring, advocates still warn them to be careful about monitoring their accounts themselves. One of the biggest problems with the retailer’s services is that it didn’t invest in comprehensive credit monitoring that covers information from all three credit bureaus, so now the monitoring still gives potential victims an incomplete picture of their credit.

According to Time, Target offers its consumers the product ProtectMyID, which is offered by Experian and only analyzes Experian data. This was likely one of the cheaper options the retailer could find, because the best credit-monitoring covers information from all three credit bureaus. The problem with the program is that information from each of the three bureau credit reports can be very different, so ProtectMyID does not provide sufficient protection for everyone.

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