The latest report of a major retailer being hacked has prompted warnings for customers to keep an eye on their credit and debit card accounts. The spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General, Geoff Greenwood, says the Home Depot announcement shows why you should make it a habit to track you accounts. “We urge consumers, regardless if there has been a report of data breach, to monitor their bills,” Greenwood says. “That is sometimes not just your best, but your only defense in detecting when someone has compromised your card.”
Greenwood says you can take all the right steps and still have your data stolen. “These are likely eastern European, perhaps Russian hackers who have infiltrated a system according to media reports, and have sold credit cards on the black market, in what they call the Dark Web. And so, you may’ve done everything right and you may’ve been compromised, and the best way to figure that out is to look at your bills, look at your account statements. Keep on top of your accounts,” Greenwood says.
Another way to keep up with your accounts is through a credit report. “Credit reports are available for free. There are three credit reporting agencies, and you are entitled to one free credit report every year and you can get many more if you want to pay for them,” Greenwood says. “What some consumers do, is they will spread it out over several months. They will get a report from one agency and then three or four months later get one from another agency.”
He says there are some specific instructions for Home Depot customers. “Any customer who used a credit card or debit card at Home Depot in the last six months should act accordingly and look at their account activity,” according to Greenwood.
You can go to the Attorney General’s website to find out more. Right now you can call Home Depot directly if you have more questions, as Greenwood says Home Depot has not released specific information yet on the time frame involved in the hacking. The latest retailer hack comes after Target reported having its data stolen near the end of last year.