By Robin Sidel
A large data breach at Home Depot Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208081807/composite HD +1.58% has started to trigger fraudulent transactions that are rippling across financial institutions and, in some cases, draining cash from customer bank accounts, according to people familiar with the impact of the hacking attack.
The fraudulent transactions are showing up across the U.S., as criminals use stolen card information to buy prepaid cards, electronics and even groceries, these people said. In some cases, the fraudulent transactions have been tracked to batches of cardholder accounts that are tied to specific ZIP Codes, they said.
Financial institutions are also stepping up efforts to block the transactions by rejecting them if they appear unusual.
The trends are all too familiar to thousands of the nation’s financial institutions, which have spent much of the year trying to root out fraudulent transactions tied to breaches at merchants like Target Corp., Neiman Marcus Group Ltd., grocer Supervalu Inc. and Asian restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc.
Home Depot disclosed the breach this month, prompting banks and credit unions to start scouring debit-card and credit-card transactions for signs of fraud that could be tracked to the do-it-yourself home-repair company.
The home-repair chain last week said that 56 million cards may have been exposed in a five-month attack on its payment terminals. That makes the attack significantly larger and lengthier than the 40 million cards that were compromised in the Target hacking that occurred in the three weeks leading up to Christmas last year.
(An expanded version of this article appears on the Wall Street Journal’s web site.)
Write to Robin Sidel at email@example.com