ATLANTA: Home Deport is investigating a potential credit- and debit-card data breach that could extend across its national network of stores and proactively communicating with customers about what it will do if the hack is confirmed.
The home-improvement retailer posted a statement on its corporate website on Wednesday morning in response to news reports about the possible payment-information data breach. Home Depot also linked to the statement from its Twitter and Facebook accounts. It had not posted again on either account as of the time this story was published.
To keep customers updated, we’ve posted a message about news reports of a possible payment data breach http://t.co/0ohhd4cn3P— The Home Depot (@HomeDepot) September 3, 2014
The statement explained that Home Depot is looking into "unusual activity" that may indicate a data breach, and is investigating the matter with its banking partners and law enforcement.
"We know that this news may be concerning, and we apologize for the worry this can create," the retailer said in the statement. "If we confirm a breach has occurred, we will make sure our customers are notified immediately."
Customers will not be responsible for any possible fraudulent charges, the statement outlined, adding that if a breach is confirmed, responsibility lies with Home Depot or the financial institutions that issued customers’ cards.
In the case of a breach, the retailer will offer free identity-protection services, including credit monitoring, to affected customers, it added.
The store also reminded customers to closely monitor their accounts and reach out to their card issuers if they notice anything out of the ordinary.
Home Depot will provide updates as the investigation continues. It has also made customer-care reps available.
Stephen Holmes, Home Depot's director of corporate comms, declined to comment on the company’s communications strategy in response to the potential breach.
Security blogger Brian Krebs first reported the potential breach on Tuesday, adding that it could extend back to late April or early May.
Last month, Home Depot reported that its second-quarter net sales increased 5.7% year-over-year to $23.8 million. In August, it also announced the promotion of US retail president Craig Menear to CEO, replacing Frank Blake, on November 1. Blake has served as the home-improvement chain’s chief executive since 2007.
News of a potential breach at Home Depot follows a string of major cyberattacks, including a breach at eBay in which 145 million user records were accessed earlier this year. Meanwhile, Target’s holiday-season data compromise left tens of millions of customers affected, while Adobe Systems’ breach last October holds the title of biggest data breach of all time with 152 million user accounts compromised.