Reuters

(Reuters)

Did You Take Advantage of Home Depot’s Offer of Free Credit Monitoring?

By Lifestyle and Budget Consumer Reports

Like previous retailers hurt by data breaches, Home Depot started offering free credit monitoring once it discovered that its security had been compromised. We wanted to know whether affected customers would welcome the move, so we took to Facebook and asked our followers.

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Adrianne Clark, from Reedsburg, Wis., had been through data breaches before. “I signed up for Target's, last year, and seeing as that will be up soon, it would be beneficial to sign up for Home Depot's,” she wrote.

Other commenters were relying on their own vigilance to keep them safe—and, for the record, they weren’t impressed by Home Depot’s efforts. Joseph Gillis, Jr., who lives in Bridgewater, Mass., wrote: “No, have not signed up for specific credit monitoring. But, I do actively watch all transactions on my cards. By the way, offering credit monitoring is rather lame; shouldn't the penalty be much more severe for Home Depot and Target?”

Some commenters distrusted the credit-monitoring services, believing that they might do more harm than good. “The credit monitoring companies are one of the worst offenders of selling personal data,” wrote Stefan Martilini from West Chester, Pa., (He has a point, according to the security expert Brian Krebs.)

In general, if the service is free, we don’t see any reason to turn it down. But it’s important to understand its limitations: These services offer only moderate protection against identity theft. Additionally, it’s important to keep track of when the initial offer ends so you don’t get charged to continue. (Here's more advice on how to handle a data breach.)

What are you doing to protect yourself from breaches past and future? Take the poll at the top of this page, or here, and see what other people say.

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