In the aftermath of Home Depot's data breach, consumers have another DIY project: Protecting any accounts used to shop at the store. On Monday, Home Depot confirmed a data breach of its payment systems in U.S. and Canadian stores, and said it was investigating transactions as far back as April. A simple solution exists that requires little elbow grease: Call your issuer and ask for a new card if you shopped at Home Depot during the period under investigation, said Brian Riley, senior research director for CEB TowerGroup, a market research firm. That way, the payment details the hackers got are useless.
The breach is yet another reminder to comb through your statements and sign up with banks to get alerts on possibly fraudulent activity. Home Depot said it will offer free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to any consumer who made a card purchase at one of its stores since April. Credit cards are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act, limiting your liability for fraudulent charges to just $50 — and most issuers waive even that. Liability on debit cards can increase to $500 or more if you fail to promptly report the fraud.