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September 9, 2014

Consumer Alert: Miller Urges Iowa's Home Depot Customers to Monitor Credit Accounts

Home improvement retailer confirms nationwide payment data breach

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  Attorney General Tom Miller urges Iowans who have recently used payment cards at any Home Depot store to carefully monitor their credit and debit card accounts, after the company yesterday confirmed a nationwide payment data breach.

“Iowans who shopped at any Home Depot store and paid with a credit or debit card since April should carefully look through their current and past account activity,” Miller said.  “Consumers who find credit card charges or debit activity they don’t recognize should immediately contact their credit card issuer, or bank if it’s a debit card.”  The company said that it has not found evidence that its website was breached or that personal identification numbers (PINs) were compromised.

In addition to carefully reviewing account statements for unauthorized charges, Miller also urges consumers to monitor credit reports for anything unusual.

The company announced that it will provide free identity protection services for one year, including credit monitoring, to any customer who used a payment card at any Home Depot store since April.  Consumers can request free identity protection through the company's website.

Consumer Questions or Concerns: Contact Home Depot
Consumers with questions are encouraged to call Home Depot directly.  The toll-free number is 1-800-HOMEDEPOT (1-800-466-3337).

Consumer Tips
Immediately review and monitor your credit card and debit card information.  Continue to carefully monitor and review your account activity, financial accounts and credit reports. If you notice any irregular activity or charges, contact the fraud departments of your credit card issuers or, for debit cards, your bank.  These financial institutions can monitor your account for suspicious activity.  You may also wish to discuss the advisability of requesting a new account number.

You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each credit bureau.  Order a copy of your credit report, and look for unauthorized activity.

Call one of the three major credit bureaus and place a one-call fraud alert on your credit report:

  • Equifax: Phone: 1-(800) 525-6285; Address: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
  • Experian: Phone: 1-(888) 397-3742; Address: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
  • TransUnion: Phone: (800) 680-7289; Address: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Initial Fraud Alert
An initial fraud alert can make it harder for criminals to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert placed on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you to confirm the credit request.  The alert stays on your report for at least 90 days, and you can renew it after 90 days.  A fraud alert allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies.  Be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.

You only need to call one of the three credit bureaus; the law requires that the bureau that you notify contact the other two bureaus.

Extended Fraud Alert
If there is unauthorized activity on your credit report, you may request an extended fraud alert to be placed on your credit report.

An extended fraud alert ensures that any time a user of your credit report (for instance, a credit card company or lender) checks your credit report, it will be notified that you do not authorize any new credit cards, any increase in credit limits, the issuance of a new card on an existing account, or other increases in credit, unless the user takes extra precautions to ensure that it is giving the additional credit to you (and not to a criminal).

To have an extended fraud alert placed on your credit report, you must file a police report with your local law enforcement agency, keep a copy for yourself, and provide a copy to one of the three major credit bureaus.  An extended fraud alert can be placed on your credit file for a seven-year period.


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