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Banks: Changing your PIN is a good idea after Target breach
By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- If you shopped at Target around Black Friday and earlier this month, there's a good chance your personal identification number may be in the wrong hands.
Target officials confirmed Friday that encrypted PINs were compromised in a massive data breach and some analysts said customers may want to change them.
The company said the stolen PINs were among the data taken when customers swiped their cards at cash registers.
Also taken were credit and debit card numbers, cardholders' names, expiration dates and the security numbers.
"We remain confident that PIN numbers are safe and secure. The PIN information was fully encrypted at the keypad, remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems," Target said in a statement Friday.
This means that Target does not have access to these PINs, and they cannot be decrypted by an unauthorized user.
But Judy Deharo, executive vice president for Firstlight Federal Credit Union, said there is a reason to consider changing your PIN.
"Any time there is possible compromised information, it raises concern," Deharo said. "Changing your PIN could be helpful to give you some added protection."
Deharo said the bank regularly receives lists of debit and credit cards that were compromised.
She said she was quite surprised to see her name on that list, too.
"I can tell you my card is one of those that was compromised, because I shop at Target," Deharo said.
Deharo's account has not been hacked, but she set up fraud alerts immediately through online banking.
This way you receive any type of unusual activity through a text message or through e-mail, Deharo said.
Deharo said the best advice is to check your account regularly and contact the bank immediately if you see something suspicious.
"Mainly protecting yourself beforehand is the best line of defense," Deharo said.
Local shoppers said they are concerned that their PINs could be in the wrong hands.
"I think it's pretty crazy that people are getting all of this information and are going to use it to their advantage and other people's disadvantage," said Josh Valenzuela. "I'm wondering how it can be fixed more so than how it happened."
Target said it is investigating the breach with the Secret Service and Department of Justice.