Home Depot Breach May Mean New Credit Cards For Many

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — It sometimes seems as if every retail store has its customers’ credit and debit card information hacked by cyber criminals.

“There’s a constant stream. Every week there’s two or three that have small compromises. It’s really become a problem,” Joseph Smith, senior vice president of Dollar Bank told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.

Target was breached last winter. Now it’s Home Depot and those shopping there between April and September.

The Home Depot says it has eliminated malware from its U.S. and Canadian networks that affected 56 million unique payment cards between April and September.

The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer said Thursday it has also completed a “major” payment security project that provides enhanced encryption of customers’ payment data in the company’s U.S. stores.

“Criminals continue to stay one step ahead of everybody,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner of RSR Research. “By all accounts, Home Depot was fast on the case of closing up any holes they had, and they were breached anyway.”

NexTier was the first bank locally to replace cards for its customers shopping at Target.

This time, Dollar Bank acted quickly for its Home Depot customers.

“We made a decision to reissue 100 percent of our cards that were impacted,” said Smith.

While customers are only liable up to $50 on their cards, banks pay for both the fraud and the cost of replacing cards.

So far PNC Bank says it is monitoring the situation and it will not replace the cards of its customers who shopped at Home Depot.

But if a customer feels a new card is necessary, PNC Bank will replace that card free of charge.

So will Citizens Bank.

And replacing cards can take a toll on customers, too.

“It’s an inconvenience, especially if you have a bunch of stuff that is automatically debited,” said Jessica Conner of Murrysville.

It leaves us all asking the experts?

Delano: “Will this ever end?”

Rosenblum: “I think the answer is not for a while.”

Rosenblum says breaches will continue until the EMV or “chip & pin” technology replaces the current magnetic stripe.

“You have to swipe the cards, it has to read the chip, and you have to validate your pin,” said Rosenblum.

But don’t look for that until 2016.

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