Experian is aware of the recent incident involving unauthorized payment card access at Target stores. In response to consumer concerns, we have compiled a short list of common questions and answers.

What can I do to protect myself?
If you used a credit or debit card at Target between Nov. 27 and December 15, you should check the online statement for that card and look for transactions that are not yours. If you find any, contact the customer service number on the card immediately and ask them what to do next.

If nothing seems out of order, then keep close watch over that particular card's statement. If you are able to access your statement online, this is the quickest and easiest way to view recent charges on your statement. If you don't have access online, be sure to carefully review your mailed statement when it arrives.

As a precaution, we also suggest that you contact the customer service number on the card to find out what next steps they recommend for you.

Should I close my credit card?
You should call the customer service number on the card and talk to the representative before making that decision. They will likely have a better idea as to whether or not you should cancel. If you don't need the card for the holidays, or you have another card you can use, canceling it and requesting a new one is a sure-fire way to avoid credit fraud on that card.

What can Experian do for me?
As currently described by Target, account numbers, names on the account, the CVV (3-digit security code) and expiration dates were compromised, which means that many consumers are affected by credit card fraud. Fraudulent use of that information is handled by the credit card issuing companies. The only change you would see on a credit report is if someone increased the balance on the credit card. That balance would then show up in your credit report, but there would be no accounting for the individual transactions.

This situation is not identity theft and accounts cannot be opened in your name with the information that was compromised. It's important to understand that with the type of breach Target experienced, getting a copy of a credit report and adding a fraud alert are not effective measures to protect yourself in this scenario. The credit report will not show if charges are being made to the breached credit card and a fraud alert will not protect against unauthorized charges to an existing credit card. The transaction information that you need to review resides with the credit card issuer.

Credit report alerts, such as those provided by Experian products, notify an individual when a new credit account has been opened or if the credit report has been reviewed as part of the process to approve a credit application. If the alert reflects activity not approved by the individual, then there is a possibility that identity fraud has occurred.

- Find out about Experian's credit monitoring product

Is Experian handling this breach?
No. Currently Target is providing a page with recommended actions for its customers.