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BBB offers advice following reports of possible Home Depot data breach

by jmaloni

Submitted

Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 11:30 pm

Identity theft prevention is the focus for annual "Secure Your Id Day" Oct. 11

Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York is responding to consumer inquiries regarding concerns linked to reports of a Home Depot data breach. As the company looks into details behind the possible data breach, BBB offers recommendations for consumers who used a credit or debit card at the home improvement retailer. Home Depot issued a statement saying it is working to confirm the details of the possible breach.

In 2013, 13.1 million consumers suffered identity fraud - the second highest level on record - according to Javelin Strategy. Data breaches can lead to 1 in 4 consumers becoming a victim of identity fraud, which is the highest rate since 2010, according to the Javelin research. Some consumers opt for the extra security of identity theft protection. However, BBB reminds consumers to never accept unsolicited identity theft protection service from an unknown business.

BBB offers the following advice:

For those who shopped at Home Depot with a credit card:

•Monitor your credit card statements carefully. Go online - don't wait for the paper statement.

If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately, so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued.

•Keep your receipts. Receipts will help if you need to prove which charges you authorized and which ones you did not.

For those who shopped at Home Depot with a debit card:

•Pay close attention to your account. Do all of the above as for credit cards, but remember, some debit cards do not have the same protections as credit cards, and debit transactions withdraw funds directly from your bank account. Contact your bank for more information, or if you want to pre-emptively request a new debit card or put a security block on your account.

For everyone, not just those who shopped at Home Depot:

•Beware of scammers. Scammers are likely to use this highly public event to purport to be from Home Depot, your bank or your credit card issuer, telling you your card was compromised and suggesting actions to "fix" the problem.

•Check before you click. Phishing emails may attempt to fool you into providing your credit card information or ask you to click on a link or open an attachment, which can download malware designed to steal your identity. Don't click on any email links or attachments unless you are absolutely certain the sender is authentic.

For all businesses that collect customer information:

•Make sure you protect your customers' data. If a data breach can happen to a major retailer with significant data security measures in place, it can happen to any business.

•Check out BBB's online "Data Security - Made Simpler" guide for free information on how to create a data security plan.

Given the scope and magnitude of the identity theft issue, BBB of Upstate New York is again offering prevention education and free shredding services - an important first line of defense - at its annual "Secure Your Identity Day" on Oct. 11. BBB will host events in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.

BBB offers 10 tips to keep your personal information safe:

  1. Review your bank, credit card and other financial statements weekly and carefully.
  2. Monitor your credit report at least twice a year for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  3. Responsibly dispose of documents and devices with financial and personal information.
  4. Never leave ATM or credit card receipts behind.
  5. Don't use an obvious password such as your birth date.
  6. Do not give out your Social Security number, carry your card with you, or put your number on checks.
  7. Never give out personal information, unless you know who you are dealing with directly.
  8. Never click on suspicious links sent in unsolicited emails.
  9. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and antivirus software and keep them up to date to keep your computer secure.
  10. Register with the National Do Not Call Registry at (888-382-1222 or www.donotcall.gov).

Home Depot headquarters in Atlanta is a BBB Accredited Business.

For scam alerts, tips and other "information you can trust," visit bbb.org or "Like" BBB on Facebook.

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