"We're advising them to ... take advantage of the free credit monitoring system ... much sooner," said Miller.
There are a couple other moves the AG is suggesting.
"We advise those consumers change their PIN number. Another thing we would strongly advise is to monitor their credit card bill very closely, each item. We caution people about the thinking, 'Oh, it's only $5. I won't worry about it.' Do worry about it."
The reasons include the way fraud operators work: Before they make a big move, they'll test the waters with a small purchase. Or 12 small purchases which add up every year. Other fraud operators, when they see a big situation like the Target data breach, will "fish for information," posing as someone from Target calling to help deal with the situation. Just remember, Target may call or email or snail mail shoppers to give them information but typically aren't doing so to request information.
As for signing up for this security program, just do it, Miller said. First, contact Target by email to tell them you want to sign up. They'll tell you what to do next. If email isn't available to a consumer, there should be a way to sign up by phone. Miller said, "If they don't have that [opiton], we'll push for that."
So how many Iowans were impacted by this data breach? They don't know yet. But their rule of thumb is that Iowa is 1 percent of the nation. So if 70 million people were affected nationally, then, theoretically, 700,000 Iowa residents may have been affected, which, wherever you live in the state, equals roughly one of every five residents.
The online version for sending in your name and email with a request for a code and instructions is creditmonitoring.target.com. The phone number to call is 866-852-8680.
— Reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark