(CNN) — The recent attack on Target customers is really eye opening when you look at the numbers. About 40 million shoppers had their credit card information stolen and during the busiest shopping days of the year, no less.
So what should you to do protect yourself?
First, if you think you're the victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission says you should contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and place an initial fraud alert. This makes it harder for a thief to open accounts in your name.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-0949
Trans Union (www.transunion.com)
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Once you've done that, the Federal Trade Commission recommends ordering a free credit report, that way you can get a full look at all the activity tied t your name.
Finally, you'll want to create an identity theft report. This will allow you to get the fraudulent information removed from your credit report and stop a company from collecting debts on that fraudulent activity.
If you think a theft is isolated to just one credit card, cancel that card and change your pin number.
Often times, the credit card company or bank will reimburse you for those charges, so long as you report it in a timely manner.
The FDIC also gives step by step instructions as well as links to free credit score reports: http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/ccc/reporting.html
KMSS's Ashleigh Brents contributed to this report.