CONSUMER ALERT: 5 things to do immediately when your credit and debit cards are compromised

CLEVELAND - Consumers woke up Thursday to news that up to 40 million credit cards and debit cards are at risk after a massive data breach at Target stores .

It has all of us asking what we can do to protect our finances.

The team at NewsNet5, our Scripps station in Cleveland, came up with this list of the first five things you should do if you suspect your card has been compromised.

#1) Change your PIN and passwords.

Very first thing you should do. Limit the damage that's already been done and keep it from getting worse. And when you do, make sure your PIN isn't one of these and your passwords aren't on this list of the easiest to hack.

#2) Cancel your card.

Or cards. Get new ones as soon as possible . That may seem redundant if you've changed your PIN but think of it like you've got a deep cut: First you stop the bleeding and then you get it sewn up.  

#3) Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report.

The Ohio Attorney General says you should do this with one of the three major credit reporting agencies. Experian , Equifax and TransUnion will keep the initial fraud alert on your credit report for 90 days while you sort things out.

#4) Consider a security freeze.

This will lockdown your credit report to prevent a third party from seeing it, which the Ohio AG says can protect your from accounts being opened in your name. But know this: In Ohio, that freeze lasts until you lift it so do it with caution.

#5) Monitor your credit report.

Start immediately , but you'll want to keep checking it over the following year to make sure nothing suspicious begins to happen.

BONUS: Call Target directly. That number is 866-852-8680.

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