The Target security breach could have affected as many 121,000 Hawaii shoppers, the company said.
Earlier this month, the retailer said that about 40 million credit and debit accounts were compromised by computer hackers at stores across the country, including on Oahu and the Big Island, on purchases made at stores from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.
Target confirmed on its website Friday that the hackers were able to access some of the personal identification numbers from the ATM cards used in its stores.
Businesses are required by Hawaii law to notify customers of any security breach involving personal information in any form following discovery of the breach. Hawaii law also requires businesses to notify the Office of Consumer Protection about the breach without delay and to provide information on the timing, distribution and content of the notices sent to affected people.
"We are working with Target to ensure that consumers are not held liable for fraudulent purchases," said Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Bruce Kim.
Residents who shopped at Target should take precautions and monitor their bank and credit card statements, reporting suspicious activities to their bank or card company, he said.
"Keep your guard up for the next year because it may take time for any fraudulent transactions to appear," he said.
Many of the banks and credit unions in the islands have been on alert since news of the breach surfaced.
Target has agreed to provide free credit report monitoring for one year for all cardholders affected by the breach.
The signs of identity theft include:
* Unauthorized charges on a credit card.
* Receiving unsolicited credit cards.
* Missing credit card bills.
* Calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise not purchased or services not authorized.
* Being denied credit or offered credit at less favorable terms for no apparent reason.
* Unauthorized credit cards or charges on credit reports.
Following a security breach, such as the one at Target, consumers may protect themselves by:
* Contacting creditors, including credit card companies, banks and other lenders, to determine whether there are any suspicious or unauthorized activity on accounts.
* Contacting any of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on the credit report. A fraud alert does not block potential new credit but places a comment into history. Creditors should contact the individual prior to opening a new account. People placing fraud alerts on their accounts are entitled to a free copy of their credit report.
To obtain a credit report, call (877) 322-8228 or go online to www.annualcreditreport.com. The three credit reporting agencies are Equifax, (800) 525-6285, www.equifax.com; Experian, (888) 397-3742, www.experian.com; or TransUnion, (800) 680-7289, www.transunion.com.