Home Depot hack led to hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from users' bank accounts

This is why I don't use debit cards to make purchases

Earlier this week, Home Depot confirmed the payment systems in its stores had been breached. While the company is offering free identity protection services and assures us customers won't be held responsible for fraudulent charges, those who used debit cards for their purchases may have a lot more hassle to go through than those who used credit cards.

Although debit card PIN may not have been stolen or compromised, hackers were able to match Home Depot transactions with cardholder data and reset users' PIN--causing at least $325,000 in PIN fraud at ATMs, according to security expert Brian Krebs. Again, the thieves didn't even have the PIN data from Home Depot. They used the cardholders' names and ZIP code (using the Home Depot ZIP code), along with stolen Social Security numbers and birthdates from the black market, to call into automated systems that change debit card PIN. That info was enough to reset the PIN and steal money out of the users' bank accounts, Krebs reports.

That's possibly money for rent or your mortgage, food, transportation and everything else absolutely gone until you can get it sorted out with the bank.

Using a credit card, on the other hand, fraudulent charges are usually reversed with just a phone call--and you're not out of money. 

I always tell people to use credit card instead of debit, and this is one of the reasons why. With today's constant cyber crime, you can never be too careful.

Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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