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In Wake of Home Depot Breach, Report Says 43% of Companies Are Victims

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The effects of the Home Depot data breach continued to ripple across the U.S. on Wednesday as customers reported being hit with thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges, and a food chain announced that it too had suffered a security breach.

Caitlyn Falzone Leonard, who’d shopped at the home-improvement retailer, said she checked her bank account after she heard about the security breach. Leonard said she found more than $1,000 in fraudulent charges from Spain and France.

“Right away, I knew I had been a victim of this because I had actually received an email from Home Depot offering this yearlong credit protection because it looked like I was potentially someone who had used their card there and could be compromised,” Leonard told ABC News.

Leonard said she couldn’t be certain that the charges had come from the Home Depot breach, but she said she was taking Home Depot up on its offer to provide free credit protection. The company also promised that customers would not be responsible for the fraudulent charges.

A new report released Wednesday by Ponemon Institute noted that a whopping 43 percent of companies had experienced some kind of data breach in the last year.

Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, revealed that it believed customers’ credit card data had been stolen from 216 of its shops, in 37 states, from June to September.

Experts said the phenomenon is alas a new fact of life.

“It’s all too easy for hackers to get into point-of-sale systems,” said Adam Levin, chairman of Identity Theft 911. “But we are at risk, these breaches have become a dead certainty in life.”

Experts warned consumers to watch out for micro-charges — purchases for less than $10 — on their debit and credit cards because it could be hackers flying below the radar and testing out cards.

Early reports from the investigation into Home Depot’s five-month breach, which exposed 56 million credit and debit cards, seemed to point to self-checkout lines. The malicious software is believed to be installed mainly on those scanners.

The breach eclipsed that of Target last year, which affected about 40 million credit and debit cards.

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