Did Home Depot Just Lose Your Credit Card Information To Hackers?

Attention, power-tool junkies: Home improvement giant Home Depot is investigating a possible credit card information breach that could extend back to April or May. If the breach extends that far, it would make its scope much larger than the Target disaster of late last year, when credit card numbers were stolen in a three-week span. While it is unclear if the information has actually been compromised, it has already sent stock prices tumbling since the investigation was announced Tuesday.

Brian Krebs, the freelancer who discovered the Target credit conundrum last year, reported Tuesday morning that Home Depot's woes may be linked to the same group of Russian and Ukrainian hackers that sold credit and debit card information from Target, P.F. Chang's, and Sally Beauty Supply.

Krebs reported that the banks he contacted had all bought customer cards from the same underground store. Krebs said that Tuesday the company, rescator[dot]cc, put two giant collections of numbers onto the store, titled "American Sanctions" and "European Sanctions," perhaps a clever nod to the U.S. and European involvement in Russia. Har har har, now give me my credit card information back.

Home Depot spokeswoman Paula Drake told Krebs:

Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers. If we confirm that a breach has a occurred, we will make sure customers are notified immediately. Right now, for security reasons, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate further – but we will provide further information as soon as possible.
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Drake promised to keep customers in the loop, but there are a few things that you can do to make sure you're compensated for any money lost from a credit card hack. Unfortunately, I know all of this because my freshman year of undergrad I got a Monday morning phone call from my dad accusing me of a wild weekend in New Orleans. When I explained that I had spent the weekend studying (no, really), we realized that my bank account had been compromised and subsequently drained. SO. Here are some things you can do to help.

Check your bank account frequently

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I know, it can be painful. It certainly is for me at certain times of the month. But check for unusual activity in the weeks surrounding a breach. With some banks you can set up alerts to go to your phone if there is anything suspicious.

Cancel your card

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It might be a little bit early in the Home Depot game for this, but if you really want to protect yourself from theft and don't mind waiting on a new card, this is a great way to cover your ass. Some banks do this automatically.

Get super paranoid and operate on a cash-only system

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Put incisions in your mattress and stuff your Benjamins away, because NOWHERE IS SAFE. LOL, JK. (But, really, we've thought about it.)