Canadian customers using their credit cards to purchase home improvement goods at Home Depot stores over the past few months would do well to check their previous statements for suspicious activity.

Home Depot reported on Sept. 8th that its payment data systems were breached, and customers who used credit cards at US and Canadian stores as far back as April could be impacted by fraudulent activity. The home improvement retailer noted that their website customers and those shopping in Mexican stores might have escaped any compromise.

The company reiterated that customers would not have to foot the cost of any fraudulent transactions and free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, will be provided to those using debit or credit cards at Home Depot stores since April.

With the massive Target credit card breach in December 2013, which resulted in 40 million debit and credit numbers being stolen plus the personal information of 70 million shoppers revealed, consumer confidence in payment systems just might be at an all-time low.

Home Depot said that credit and debit card PIN numbers were not hacked, which means Canadian shoppers with microchip embedded cards may fare better than their American counterparts who still typically swipe cards with magnetic stripes. The retailer will step up microchip technology and plans to equip its more than 2,200 US-based stores with chip-enabled checkout terminals by December this year.

Currently, the Atlanta-headquartered firm is working with the US Secret Service on the investigation, which might suggest that this particularly complex hacking incident may exceed the damages sustained by Target, which paid out $148 million, less $38 million in insurance coverage, in legal expenses and penalties. Also helping with the around-the-clock forensic investigation are security teams from Symantec and FishNet Security, who were called in on Sept. 2, when suspicion of the breach took place.

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