The Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Suffers Massive Data Breach; What Shoppers Should Do to Protect Themselves

The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) has today confirmed that they suffered a large data breach of their networks as far back as April, which affected both their U.S and Canadian stores. A possible data breach was first revealed last week by Brian Krebs on Krebs on Security, while The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) had until now played coy on the subject, saying only that they were investigating a possible hack. With the breach now confirmed, Personal Finance Reporter Kelli B. Grant detailed today on CNBC, steps that potentially affected customers should immediately take to protect themselves.

The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD)

“One of the first things to do is to start monitoring any accounts that you might have used to pay at Home Depot, for any possible fraudulent transactions. Home Depot is saying that they do not believe PIN numbers have been compromised, but we are hearing reports that some banks are seeing a spike in fraudulent ATM withdrawals, so good reason to keep an eye on those accounts,” Grant said.

Secondly, customers should consider contacting their card issuer and having a new card sent out to them, which will nullify the old card and ensure that even if it was compromised, it can no longer be used. As Grant further points out, credit cards have much better fraud protection than debit cards, and so may be wiser choices to use when making purchases at stores.

Krebs on Security has reported that several banks they have been in contact with have experienced a steep rise in fraudulent ATM transactions over the past few days, with an employee of one bank saying their institution had lost $300,000 to fraudulent withdrawals in a matter of hours. All of the fraudulently used debit cards had recently been used to make purchases at The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD).

The fallout for The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) could be severe, given the scope of the breach which is possibly the largest to ever hit a retailer, greater than the one which struck Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) last year. That breach sent Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) revenue tumbling along with its reputation, which it has yet to fully recover from.

Shares of The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) fell 2.08% today to close at $88.93.

Disclosure: none