If news of the Home Depot data breach has you worried about the security of your personal and banking information, you’re not alone. The nation’s largest home improvement retailer estimates the account information of more than 56-million customers may have been compromised. If you shopped at a Home Depot store between April and September of this year, keep reading to learn what to do after a data breach.
Contact the Card Issuer — If you know which card (or cards) you used to shop at Home Depot during the dates of the breach, contact your card issuer and let them know you’re concerned. Some card companies will automatically issue a new card, while others take a wait-and-see approach. If you do receive a new card, remember to update any automated payments you have attached to that account with the new numbers to avoid late fees or interruptions in service.
Review Receipts — If you keep receipts, go through them and match them up to Home Depot charges on your statements to ensure they’re legitimate. If you don’t keep receipts, it’s a good reminder to start doing so for situations like this.
Stay Informed — Visit the Home Depot website regularly for any new information that may become available. Type their email address directly into your browser rather than clicking on links in emails or social medial to ensure you’re on the actual Home Depot site and not a spoof site.
Watch Your Statements — Pay extra attention to your credit card statements or checking account activity (if you used a debit card). Contact your card issuer or bank at the first sign of any unauthorized activity.
Beware of Phishing Scams — Be wary of any emails you receive claiming to be from Home Depot or your card issuer in relation to the data breach. Your bank, credit union, credit card company or any other legitimate financial institution will never ask you to share personal information, account numbers or your social security number via email. If you receive communication asking for that information, call the institution in question directly using a phone number you look up yourself – not the one provided in the email.
Put Safeguards in Place — Any time you’re worried that your personal information has been compromised, you should first place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit report with each credit bureau:
Then follow these detailed identity theft recovery steps listed on the Federal Trade commission’s website.