BUSINESS

Home Depot Hack Is Letting Criminals Drain Money From People's Bank Accounts

This Aug. 14, 2012 file photo shows a Home Depot store in Nashville, Tenn. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, the home improvement re
This Aug. 14, 2012 file photo shows a Home Depot store in Nashville, Tenn. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, the home improvement retailer said that it's looking into "unusual activity" and that it's working with both banks and law enforcement after suspicions of a credit card data breach. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(Reuters) - Data breach at home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc has led to fraudulent transactions across the United States, draining cash from customer bank accounts, the Wall Street Journal said.

Criminals are using stolen card information to buy prepaid cards, electronics and even groceries, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Financial institutions also are stepping up efforts to block the transactions by rejecting them if they appear unusual, the daily said.

Earlier this month, Home Depot confirmed its payment systems were breached and said some 56 million payment cards were likely compromised in a cyberattack at its stores, suggesting the hacking attack at the home improvement chain was larger than last year's unprecedented breach at Target Corp .

Home Depot had said customers who shopped at its stores as far back as April were exposed, suggesting the breach extended through the busy summer season.

(Reporting by Anannya Pramanick in Bangalore)

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