It’s in the middle of the night and you are alone. The section of town where you find yourself is infamous for drug activity, muggings, robberies, gang activity and drive-by shootings. The ATM in the deserted parking lot of the bank in this area is not the best place to use your debit card. While this scenario is obvious to most people, there are other places where debit cards are used that are just as dangerous. However, the danger lurks after the consumer has used the card and walked away.
Outdoor ATM machines are popular for a quick stop for the consumer to withdrawal cash even in the light of day. However, these machines are often an easy way for a criminal to steal the information off the magnetic strip. Referred to as “skimming”, the thief installs a devise that “skims” the card information when used at the ATM; this gives them fraudulent access to your debit card account.
Using your debit card at a restaurant is a situation that allows dishonest servers to obtain information from the card to use at a later date. The opportunity presents itself when the server takes the card to the register to swipe it for payment. The server with your card is out of sight for enough time to capture the numbers, and unbeknownst to you is able to then use the card in a variety of ways.
At the gas pump is another easy target for thieves to skim information using the same type of devise used at the outdoor ATM machines. With the busy consumer traffic, the devise is easily installed along with a small type of camera that records the pin number used at the pump. Not to mention that whenever a debit card is used at a gas station, there is often a hold placed on the card up to $75.00. This is the danger of the retailer holding your money hostage for a period up to two weeks.
The most obvious and well known dangerous place to use the debit card is on the internet. Regardless of how secure the website claims to be with the card information, hackers and thieves can be one step ahead of the website security. Hence, your bank account can be wiped out in a manner of minutes.
Debit cards have replaced the paper check, are easier and more convenient to use. They also give consumers the feeling of security because carrying cash is no longer necessary. Yet whenever technology is developed to enhance our lives making money management easier, you can bet the chance to commit fraud is also being developed. Being armed with the same knowledge criminals have will help deter their efforts to steal from you.