Protect yourself from the latest data breach

There are troubling signs that The Home Depot may have been hacked—so far the retailer has released a statement that says only that it is “looking into some unusual activity that might indicate a possible payment data breach.”

These attacks have become depressingly familiar. Retailers such as Target, Nieman Marcus, Michaels, and UPS have all been hit in the past year, and consumers may understandably feel a bit powerless in the face of it. Nevertheless, if you suspect your online accounts or credit cards may be compromised, we recommend a healthy dose of vigilance.

First, remember that you won’t be financially responsible for any fraudulent credit card charges that may result from a data breach. Also, make sure you’ve got tough passwords for your online accounts. We have advice here on how to avoid weak passwords, and how to create strong, memorable ones.

There’s more you can do. If Home Depot does confirm that it has a breach and offers you free credit monitoring, take them up on it. Keep a close eye on your accounts and credit-card statements. Change your user name and password on accounts you know have been breached. Take a look here for more details.

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