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Consumer Alert: Home Depot fraud and Southland phone scam

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FLLewis / Media City G -- The Home Depot at 1200 Flower St, Burbank September 9, 2014

FLLewis / Media City G — The Home Depot at 1200 Flower St, Burbank September 9, 2014

The Home Depot hacker attack is turning into a really bad nightmare for the nation’s largest home improvement retailer and many of its customers. Reports are circulating on the Internet about thieves using credit card information stolen from Home Depot to “… buy prepaid cards, electronics and even groceries,” according to MoneyWatch. Also, some of the stolen cards reportedly have been used to drain “… crash from customers’ accounts.”

Last Thursday, Home Depot announced it had purged the hacker malware from its payment system. However, the company has admitted the cyber attack it first discovered earlier this month allowed criminals to get away with the payment information for around  “56 million credit cards.” The attack occurred between April and September 2014, affecting stores across the country and in Canada.  Consumers who shopped at Home Depot during that period are being urged to check their credit card and account statements for signs of fraud.

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Meanwhile, the Burbank Police Department is issuing a  warning about a phone scam involving MoneyPak and thieves pretending to be law enforcement officers. BPD says the scam has snagged victims in the “surrounding communities” and they fear Burbank is their next target. The way the scam works is the caller accuses the victim of “…failing to appear in court on a traffic violation caught on camera.” The scammer demands the victim purchase a “MoneyPak” prepaid card for a specific amount and forward the prepaid card details to the thief. The victim is threatening with “arrested or having SWAT raid their home ” if they don’t comply.

The BPD is putting the word out that its personnel “…  would never call someone by phone and demand money.”  More information on the Burbank Police website or if you have been victimized by this fraud or received a phone call from one of the scammers  call the BPD at( 818)-238-3000.

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