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Target rolls out free credit monitoring, starts new cybersecurity coalition

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Target says its offer of a year's worth of free credit monitoring met with a strong and immediate response from customers Monday.

As the Washington Post reports, customers began signing up for a year of credit monitoring and ID theft protection as part of Target's response to the data breach that compromised private information of more than 100 million customers.

Target established a web page with instructions for customers who want to sign up for the service. Customers have until April 23 to request an activation code. The company chose the credit monitoring firm Experian and will use its ProtectMyID program. The package includes personal assistance from a fraud resolution agent.

On a Frequently Asked Questions page, Target explains that any customer who's shopped with the retailer is eligible for the service.

Separately, the Minneapolis-based retailer announced it's spending $5 million to start a cybersecurity coalition. Target says its data breach has sparked a conversation about the sophistication of cybercrimes and phishing scams. The company says it wants to accelerate that discussion and is partnering with two cybersecurity companies and the Better Business Bureau in what Target calls a multi-year campaign.

Both the credit monitoring and the new coalition are part of a full court press that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel says is meant to earn back the trust of customers. Last week the company said the number of customers whose information may have been compromised is 110 million – up from the 70 million that was first estimated.

Neiman Marcus said last week some of its shoppers also had credit card numbers stolen in a similar theft.

Reuters says in an exclusive report that at least three other retailers were the victims of smaller breaches that used similar technology. Reuters cites unidentified sources familiar with the attacks, which have not yet come to light. The news service says law enforcement sources suspect the crime ring may be based in eastern Europe.

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