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(NECN/NBC News: Chris Clackum) - Even if you didn't shop at Target during its data breach, advocates are calling on consumers to take steps to protect themselves, like getting a new debit card or stopping using them all together.
It is always harder to recover losses from debit cards.
Consider putting a freeze on your credit so no one pretending to be you can apply for it.
And pay close, close attention to credit card and bank statements.
"You've got to get out the statement and you've got to look at every single transaction to make sure that it was one that you initiated," said Greg McBride of BankRate.com
Internet security experts are expecting a giant wave of phishing emails.
"Don't ever click on a link from your bank that's asking you for personal information. The banks won't ever send that kind of communication to you," advises Michelle Dennedy of McAfee Internet Security.
And if there's ever a time to take advantage of free credit reports from the three agencies, it's now.
Experts suggest spreading them out over the year.
"If you're pulling a different one every four months, you're constantly in this mode of monitoring your credit report," said McBride.
Family and friends of older Americans need to be especially vigilant, because they're a hacker's favorite target.