7 Dangers To Watch Out For When Using Your Debit Card
I believe debit cards are a better option than checks to pay for things and protect your privacy. Think about it, a check has your account number in plain site across the bottom while a debit card has a random number across the front. That being said, there are things you should do to help prevent becoming a victim of fraud. Here are 7 dangers to watch out for when using your debit card:
Standalone ATMS That Skim Cash
The FBI estimates that a criminal activity called "ATM skimming" is costing U.S. banks hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Skimming often involves using hidden cameras or placing electronic devices over the ATM's standard card reader in order to steal information from a card's magnetic strip. For these reasons, you should avoid shady-looking ATMs, especially if they're secluded or aren't officially tied to a bank.
Follow these steps from the Better Business Bureau to avoid being "skimmed" yourself:
• Cover the key pad when punching in your PIN.
• Inspect the ATM: Avoid shady ATMS and jiggle the card swiper to see if it's been tampered with.
• Monitor your account consistently so you can spot unusual activity.
• Report fraud immediately to your bank.
Gas Stations That Can Freeze Your Funds
In 2008, SF Gate reported that scammers drained $45,000 from customers who used their debit cards to pay for gas at an Arco station in San Jose, Calif.
For this reason, it's safer to use a credit card during gas station trips because you'll be charged for the exact amount you spent, making it easier to detect any fraud. Conversely when you use a debit card, your account will show a hold, which can range anywhere between $50 and $75, depending on the station, and can last for days after your visit, according to CBS Moneywatch.
Restaurants and Bars Where the Card Leaves Your Sight
The danger in using your debit card at restaurants and bars is that the card has to leave your sight, which compromises your data, reports Banktime.
You may think that plunking down that debit card is the easiest way to settle a check, but in a crowded dining environment, unsuspecting prying eyes (namely the waiter who's taking your card) can pose a real threat to your bank account.