Did you know that you may give a thief direct access to your checking account just by regularly using your debit card? Debit cards may look identical to credit cards, but have one key difference. With credit cards you can simply decline the charges and not pay the bill. Debit cards draw money directly from your checking account, rather than from an intermediary such as a credit card company.
While debit card fraud is always a possibility, being careful where you use it can help keep your checking account balance out of the hands of criminals.Here are the risky places for debit card use:
Online is the No. 1 place where consumers should not use their debit cards. It’s susceptible at so many points, such as malware on the consumer’s computer, eavesdropping on communications via the wireless network, hacking, etc. It’s impossible to know who is handling your information and wherever the data goes, it’s going to be vulnerable.
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. Those machines are often placed over the real card slots at ATMs and other card terminals. If the public has access to it, then someone has the ability to add skimming devices to it, position cameras on it and position themselves in a way where they could surveil it. You’re better off using an ATM inside a retail outlet or other high-trafficked, well-lit place.
Thieves on gas stations are putting skimming devices or using small cameras to capture footage of debit card users entering their PINs so they can have free access to their money. Even if the thief doesn’t manage to get your debit card personal identification number, or PIN, from such a device, he still may be able to duplicate the card’s magnetic strip and use it for “sign and swipe” Visa or MasterCard transactions.
With the high potential for fraud in pay-at-the-pump debit transactions, it might make sense to use an alternative such as cash or credit cards the next time you fill up.
Restaurant keep customer data on file. Server takes your card and disappears for a while, having the opportunity to copy your card information.
“Any place where the card is out of hand” can increase the chances of fraud. Regardless of whether you use your debit card at a small restaurant or a big-box store, the possibility of fraud is always there.
Article Source: www.bankrate.com/finance
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Reinhard von Hennigs