It’s Midnight. Do You Know Where Your Debit Card Has Been?

Were you surprised to see that extra charge show up on your checking account? Did you even recognize the store name? Were you even in that part of the country? Have you had your identity stolen?

Unfortunately we live in a time when your personal information can be taken with a swipe of a card. Using your ATM can be like giving a thief direct access to your checking account. Debit cards do not have the same identity protection values as a credit card. Even if clear cut fraud has occurred, consumer protection laws do not always support the consumer. Since debit card fraud is always possible, being careful where you use your card can help keep your information out of the hands of criminals. 

Any outdoors ATM is going to be the most dangerous place to use your card. The philosophy is that if the public has access to the ATM, then the criminals have the ability to place skimming devices or position themselves to capture your information. It is better to use an ATM inside a retail outlet or any well lit inside location. Before you swipe your card, look at the ATM location and see if the ATM components look beat up or just not right. This location may have a skimmer on it.

Another danger zone is gas stations. before you have put the gas cap back on and driven away, your bank account could be accessed. Even if the bad guy doesn’t get your PIN, they can get your magnetic strip info and use it for the “sign and swipe” transactions. It is best to use cash or a credit card the next time you fill up.

The web is also one of the most dangerous places to use your debit card. The information is vulnerable at many points in the transaction. It is just not a safe place to use your debit card. If you are going to use the web, use your credit card. The biggest problem is that you have no idea who ends up with your information.

Another very vulnerable place to use your card is a restaurant. The standard practice of giving your card to the waiter, and they walk behind closed doors, can increase your exposure to debit card fraud. Even in a fast food location, fraud can occur easily, because cashiers keep your information on file.

Even if you use your debit cards with care, hackers are always figuring out ways to steal your information. Check your bank accounts regularly and report any discrepancies to your bank or credit card company immediately. Even the smallest amounts can mean that someone has your information and you are at risk.

The credit information that you create today will follow you for a minimum of 3 years or longer. It is very important today to check your credit on a regular basis. Your ability to get credit is very different from your ability to get credit just a couple of years ago. Keep track of your credit report and take care.

If you have any questions about credit or any other questions please do not hesitate to call. 

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