I've been keeping you updated on the massive Home Depot hack that exposed 56 million customer credit and debit cards. Well, now that the breach is out in the open, hackers are scrambling to spend their ill-gotten gains before it's too late.
Financial institutions are reporting a wave of fraudulent purchases sweeping the nation.
Jessica McFarland was home in Kalama, Wash., on Saturday afternoon when she received a fraud text alert from her credit union, asking if she was buying groceries in San Francisco with her debit card. The 26-year-old waitress and college student responded immediately, saying she didn't make the purchase.
The credit union froze her card, but not before $300 had already been siphoned from her account to pay for the groceries. To make matters even more frustrating, the crooks were still trying to buy more groceries with her card even while she was on the phone with the credit union.
Some banks are responding by re-issuing cards to anyone who shopped at Home Depot within the last five months, while others are waiting for actual fraud to occur. You might want to call your bank to see what camp it falls under.
Either way, you should be checking your bank account regularly for purchases you didn't make. If you spot one, call your bank's fraud line immediately.
You should also be careful of phishing emails, texts and phone calls as scammers try to cash in on the confusion. Click here to see what a real update email from Home Depot looks like.
Home Depot isn't the only big store to lose customer information. Up to 43% of companies have experienced a data breach in the last year. Click here to learn more about that and how you can defend yourself.