State consumer protection officials say anyone who’s shopped at Home Depot between April and May of this year should be checking their credit cards.
The company was recently the target of the same hacking group that perpetrated the Target breach earlier this year, and may have stolen customer data from every store in the country. Consumer protection superintendent Sandy Chalmers says you should already be checking your bank statements. “If you see charges you don’t recognize, contact your bank or credit card provider right away and speak to the fraud department.” Security expert Brian Krebs has reported that the thieves also have zipcode data from each of the stores, and may be able to change and alter the PIN on your accounts as well.
Customers should also be checking their credit statements regularly, especially now that this data is in the wild. “Your credit report includes information about your credit card accounts and other bills you pay, so it’s a good way to find out if someone’s opened a credit account in your name.” Chalmers says if you want to be safer, you should be getting new cards issued to you as soon as possible.
Chalmers says new technology already in place in Europe may be able to help stop some of these data breaches. “Companies are moving towards a chip enabled technology and away from the magnetic strips, which is really a very old technology that is very vulnerable to hacking as we’ve seen over and over again.” That chip and pin technology requires physical access to your card in order to secure the data off of it.
If you have questions about data breaches and other credit security matters, contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s helpline at 1-800-422-7128
WSAU, Raymond Neupert