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Business

Fallout for Home Depot as states investigate data breach

Shares of Home Depot are under pressure Wednesday as the home improvement retailer contends with the fallout of a data breach at its more than 2,000 U.S. and Canadian stores.

Attorney generals for Connecticut, California and Illinois are leading a multistate investigation into the Home Depot data breach. Jaclyn Falkowski, spokeswoman for the Office of Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, said Wednesday that initial contact has been made with Home Depot, but declined to comment further.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, requesting that they investigate the incident. The senators said they're concerned that Home Depot had inadequate procedures in place to detect and stop the theft of customer data.

Senators Blumenthal and Markey introduced the Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act in February after companies like Target Corp. and others disclosed data breaches.

Home Depot said Wednesday that it will continue to cooperate with lawmakers and others.

There is also an effort to open a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Kelsey O'Brien, who shopped at Home Depot, filed a complaint against the company Tuesday, saying the retailer failed to secure and safeguard customers' personal financial data. O'Brien is seeking punitive damages and at least three years of credit card monitoring services paid for by Home Depot, among other things.

The complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

Home Depot said it is focused on its customers and the data breach investigation, so it has not reviewed the lawsuit yet.

Home Depot acknowledged Monday that its payment systems were hacked in a breach that could affect millions of customers that used credit and debit cards at its stores. It said malware was used in the hack. The Atlanta company said its investigation into the breach goes back as far as April. Customers won't be held responsible for fraudulent charges to their accounts.

Retailers, banks and card companies have responded to data breaches by speeding the adoption of microchips in U.S. credit and debit cards. That technology helps makes transactions more secure. Home Depot plans to have chip-enabled checkout terminals at all of its U.S. stores by the end of this year.

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