The Home Depot confirms investigation into potential data breach

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The Home Depot Tuesday confirmed it is working with law enforcement and its banking partners to investigate 'unusual activity'.

"There's what they're terming 'suspicious activity' but what most people believe to be a breach, a data breach that's been going on probably for several months," said Brandon Disney of Data Doctors.

The home improvement giant is the latest suspected target of a massive customer data breach, in which millions of customers could potentially be affected. 

Some believe it is along the same lines as what happened at P.F. Changs earlier this year and, of course, late last year with Target.

In that case, tens of millions of Target customers had their credit and debit card information stolen by hackers and sold.

"Experts kind of have determined that this is probably going to be something by the time it's all figured out on a bigger scale than what happened at Target," Disney said.

In fact there's even speculation that the same people who pulled off the Target hack attack could be responsible for this latest possible breach.

"It's either the same or similar groups, these are sophisticated kinds of attacks, they're going after large, large numbers of credit cards and they're selling that information on the open market," said Disney.

Home Depot shoppers 3TV talked to Tuesday didn't even know about the potential breach, we broke the news to them and received mixed reactions.

"Oh great, that's all we need," said shopper James Emerson.

In a statement The Home Depot said, in part, if they confirm a breach, they will make sure customers are notified immediately.

Experts say this type of breach will affect consumers more from a convenience standpoint than a financial one.

"The thing that really becomes the pain is the time it takes to to deal with reporting the fraud and then changing those numbers for all the other services you have in place," he said.

In order to try and protect yourself from becoming a potential victim, Disney suggests people review their bank account at least once a week and to also keep receipts.

"That allows you to go back and really kind of review, I have these receipts do these charges match up so if you're staying vigilant and on top of it, you can catch things early in the process," he said.

If you want to take things a step further, Disney said you can look into pre-paid cards which most banks offer, or use checks or cash to make your purchases.

It's something one concerned customer told 3TV she is considering.

"We're to the point where we don't really use credit cards that much because of what's going on, we're just going, you know what, we're going to start using cash," said Judy Baker.

Home Depot Statement:

"At this point, I can confirm that we’re looking into some unusual activity and we are working with our banking partners and law enforcement to investigate.  Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers.  If we confirm that a breach has occurred, we will make sure customers are notified immediately."