More and more consumers are switching from credit cards to debit cards these days. Especially since banks are not offering greater incentives to use debit cards. Such as the Delta Sky Miles debit card from Suntrust Bank or the Disney Rewards debit card from Chase. But using your debit card is a much riskier move than using your credit card.
If you spot a fraudulent charge on your credit card bill, you simply have to decline the charge and notify the bank of the charge. However, if you get a fraudulent charge on your bank statement, its more than likely too late, your information is in the wrong hands. Getting your money back from banks can be an uphill battle and most of the time it takes months longer to get your money back.
Knowing this, here are a few places to be aware of when using your debit card…
ATM Skimming – Skimming is the practice of capturing a bank customer’s card information by running it through a machine that reads the card’s magnetic strip. A smaller machine is placed over the real card slots at ATMs and other card terminals.
Gas Station Skimming – This sounds crazy but gas station terminals offer an easy access point for criminals to steal your information. This is a very similar practice to ATM Skimming.
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The Internet – Who doesn’t use their debit card online? But the internet is an easy place for criminals to get access to your debit card information. There are so many access points that scammers can get access to your information. Have you ever piggy back off of someone else’s wireless network? If you do it, think about what someone with the IT knowledge could do with that kind of access.
Local Restaurants – Have you ever given any thought to giving a stranger your debit card for 1-5 minutes without being able to see them? How long do you think it takes to write down your debit card number, your security PIN, and your name? Less than 5 minutes? Not only is this a threat, most restaurants keep your debit card information on file. They need this information to go back and add tips and look up other information they might need.
I use my debit card for a lot of purchases and I don’t expect to change that. However, I do try to be careful on where I use it and you should be too.