Reports are coming in that credit and debit cards snatched by thieves during the Home Depot breach of customer information are beginning to show some fraudulent purchases.
If you, Home Depot shoppers, have not taken steps to protect yourself already, you need to do so.
First, go to the Home Depot website at https://homedepot.allclearid.com/ and type in your full name and an email address. Home Depot will check your name against their records and let you know if your information was susceptible to the breach. Basically, if you shopped there starting last April 1 with a credit or debit card, you are a potential victim.
Home Depot will email you and confirm whether you are in danger or not. If you are, you can register on the website for credit monitoring and identity theft insurance, paid for by the company.
If you are a potential victim, go to your bank or credit card website and start checking your accounts for any purchases that you did not make. If you see something suspicious, check it out and report it. Remember, with debit cards, the longer you wait to report a fraudulent purchase, the more liability you pick up. Most cards have a phone number on the back to report problems.
I took the next step and went ahead and cancelled my debit card and asked for a new number. My bank sent me that in about a week.
If you are really concerned about identity theft and that the thieves might use your personal identification to open another credit account in your name, you can ask for a credit freeze.
When a freeze is in place, the credit reporting agencies may not release the consumer’s credit report or credit score to a business that is inquiring about the consumer opening a new credit account unless the consumer provides a password. Freezing your accounts will cost $3 each at the three major credit reporting companies.
You can access your own credit if you need to by providing a password for a temporary lift on the freeze, but that lift will cost you another $3. It can typically be unfrozen within 15 minutes of the request.
You will need to send this information to each of the three credit reporting agencies for a freeze:
- Full name (and former name if applicable)
- Current Address and former address if it changed in the last 5 years
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Photocopy of a driver’s license, state ID card or other government-issued identification
- Proof of current residence, such as a copy of a phone or utility bill
- If you are a victim of identity theft, include a copy of either the police report; investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft;
- If you are not a victim of identity theft, include payment by check, money order or credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover cards only.) Do not send cash in the mail.
You can contact the companies here:
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000