4 Places You Should NEVER Swipe Your Debit Card. Identity theft and credit card fraud are running in high demand as criminals use these tactics to drain your bank account. Gone are the days where “Cash is King”, as Americans use the convenience of debit cards. While cash is not always practical for everything, there are very good reasons to consider it for other alternatives instead of those debit cards. Here’s what you should know about the four places you should never swipe your debit card:
1. Gas Stations: Gas stations are a favorite target for thieves and their card skimmers. Last year, four men were arrested for stealing $2.1 million using skimmers at gas stations. The skimmers were installed at the gas pumps and were equipped with Bluetooth. This allowed the thieves to come by and extract the collected numbers and PINs wirelessly. If possible, always use cash when purchasing gas. If you can’t, try to use a credit card at the pump. Credit card charges are easier to contest, and you are only liable for up to $50 of fraudulent purchases.
2. Restaurants: Restaurants are not the safest place to use a debit card. Your card actually leaves your sight, and some unscrupulous servers bring handheld card skimmers to work to swipe your debit card information. Even low-tech criminals can just write down the card numbers. Some restaurants use older computer systems for processing the cards, which makes it easier for hackers to install card swipe software.
3. Stores: Restaurants and gas stations are high targets for debit card thieves. The same goes for stores. For small purchases, cash is the way to go. It is best to use cash at grocery stores or when buying clothes if possible. If you’re making a larger purchase, use a credit card instead of your debit card. You have less liability than you do with a credit card, as we stated above.
4. Online: We understand that you cannot use cash online, but still never use your debit card. Use a credit card. A hacker can’t overdraft your bank account with a credit card, so the protection is much better. If the overdraft occurs you will need to fight over the overdraft fees on top of everything else. You can also check with your bank to see if it offers one time credit card numbers for online buying. Each number would only work once, so it won’t do any good to hackers if they try to steal it. One drawback to using your credit card is the interest payments, if you don’t pay on time. But if you were going to use your debit card anyway, we suggest you immediately pay off the purchase on your credit card.
We know this seems like a lot of work. But not the amount of work it will take to fight identity theft and the fraudulent charges that can occur if you continue using your debit card for purchases.