LARGO, Md. (WUSA9) - There was no hold-up, but you may have been robbed.

The credit of 40 million Target shoppers nationwide may have been compromised. The Secret Service say thieves were able to access the information off the black bar of credit and debit cards accessing your personal information like social security number and birth date. Investigators say the fraud happened at the height of the holiday shopping season: Black Friday to December 15th.

"It's scary," says one shopper at the Largo Target as she walked out with a bag of items, "but I didn't use my credit card today. I used cash."

"So what are we supposed to do?" wonders another shopper.

Sonya Smith-Valentine of Financially Fierce has the answers. "First and foremost, you should pull your credit reports (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) and check the inquiries section. The inquires will tell you if any new companies have inquired about pulling your credit. So if you see a company you don't recognize or haven't done business with, you should contact them right away," she says.

Smith-Valentine, a long-time personal finance expert, says it is also a great idea to put a temporary freeze on your account to prevent any future fraud. "What a freeze does is it puts a hold on your account so if a company contacts them and tries to pull your information the credit agency will say 'no, I can't give it to you, this report has been frozen,'" explains Smith-Valentine.

If you spot any suspicious activity you should contact the company and file a police report immediately.

American Express and Discover are "aware" of the fraud. Visa and Mastercard have not commented on the investigation.

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