From the Better Business Bureau
A perfect storm is hitting consumers who use debit cards. Data theft from major U.S. retailers and new bank policies are changing the security landscape. Banks have been getting crunched by expenses related to covering credit and debit card fraud; and recently, Chase Bank announced that very soon if you don’t exercise ordinary care you will be responsible for all authorized and unauthorized debit transactions. Examples of not exercising ordinary care include keeping your PIN with your card or using your birthday as your PIN.
Home Depot has now confirmed its payment data system was breached. If you used a debit or credit card at a Home Depot store from April forward, crooks have your card numbers. The Home Depot official press release indicates that debit card PIN numbers were not compromised. However, financial institutions contacted by KrebsOnSecurity are reporting a steep increase over the past few days in fraudulent ATM withdrawals on customer accounts. Krebs reports that card data for sale on criminal websites was stolen from Home Depot, allowing thieves to create counterfeit copies of debit and credit cards. If criminals change the PIN on those accounts, the fabricated debit cards can then be used to withdraw cash from ATMs. Krebs reports that a large bank on the West Coast lost more than $300,000 in two hours to PIN fraud on multiple debit cards that had all been used recently at Home Depot. The bank manager said the criminals called customer service at the bank and provided the last four of each cardholder’s Social Security number, date of birth, and the expiration date on the card.
Home Depot is offering free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to any customer who has shopped at a Home Depot store in 2014, from April on. Customers who wish to take advantage of these services can learn more at www.homedepot.com or by calling 1-800-HOMEDEPOT (800-466-3337). Responding to the increasing threat of cyber-attacks on the retail industry, Home Depot will roll out EMV “Chip and PIN” to all U.S. stores by the end of this year. October 2015 is the deadline established by the payments industry.
If you have shopped in a Home Depot store, BBB recommends you take advantage of this free identity protection service. Other steps you should take include:
* Do not use the same password or PIN for your financial accounts as you do for any other account. If your password/PIN information is stolen from one site, the risk is greatly reduced if that is the only place you are using it.
* Take caution in the PIN number you use, how it is stored, and who you share it with.
* Regularly check all your accounts to make sure there are no unauthorized withdrawals or expenditures.
* Use annualcreditreport.com to check your credit on a regular basis through the three major credit reporting agencies.