Following the breach at Home Depot payment card systems brought to light earlier this month, there are reports of fraudulent transactions across various financial institutions, that are draining money from customer accounts.

According to unidentified sources familiar with the situation, fraudulent transactions are surfacing across the U.S. as stolen card information is being used to buy prepaid cards, electronics and groceries, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The apparent credit and debit card breach uncovered [September 2nd] at Home Depot was aided in part by a new variant of the malicious software program that stole card account data from cash registers at Target last December, according to sources close to the investigation,” wrote Brian Krebs, September 14.

The breach may have compromised 56 million payment cards, in a cyber attack that lasted approximately five months. Once the card data is stolen, it is placed on black market websites, where miscreants buy this data, and manufacture fake cards to make transactions on goods which can later be resold, according to security blogger Brian Krebs.

Financial institutions, banks and credit unions have been combing debit-card and credit-card transactions for signs of fraud that could be tracked to the Home Depot breach, after managing to “root out” fraudulent transactions related to breaches at Target Corp., Neiman Marcus Group Ltd., grocer Supervalu Inc. and Asian restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc.

Fraud losses have risen to 45% last year to $16 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, a consulting firm that is a unit of Greenwich Associates LLC. Financial institutions like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Capital One Financial Corp., are reissuing cards to data exposed customers while others are doing so only when they see fraud attempts, according to WSJ.

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(Image Credit: Ivan David Gomez Arce)

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