Risky Places to use Your Debit Card

RISKY PLACES FOR ATM

If you are like us and rarely have cash and use your ATM then you need to be aware of the 4 riskiest places to use your ATM card.

First, here’s something you should know. Debit cards may look identical to credit cards, but there's one key difference. With credit cards, users who spot fraudulent charges on their bill can simply decline the charges and not pay the bill. On the other hand, debit cards draw money directly from your checking account, rather than from an intermediary such as a credit card company.

Because of that, even clear-cut cases of fraud where victims are protected from liability by consumer protection laws can cause significant hardship.

The idea that outdoor ATMs are among the most dangerous places to use a debit card seems a little bit absurd. But some ATMs present a perfect opportunity for thieves to skim users' debit cards, says Chris McGoey, a security consultant based in Los Angeles.

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.

"Any transaction you do outdoors at an open ATM is going to be higher risk exposure," McGoey says. "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."

He says you're better off using an ATM inside a retail outlet or other high-trafficked, well-lit place.

Julie McNelley, senior analyst for Aite Group LLC, a Boston-based financial services research firm, says even the card terminals that card users must swipe to get into ATM vestibules are being used as a skimming site by criminals. You can spot ATM skimmers by checking for ATM components that look beat-up or askew, she says.

 

Here are the 4 places that you are best off to use cash:

4 risky places to swipe your debit card

  1. Gas stations: The danger is some machines may have a device that thru a laptop with an antenna across the street, someone can get all of your information. Gas station payment terminals have many of the characteristics card fraudsters love.
  2. Outdoor ATM’s are among the most dangerous places to use a debit card. Some ATMs present a perfect opportunity for thieves to skim users' debit cards. 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. You're better off using an ATM inside a retail outlet or other high-trafficked, well-lit place.
  3. The Web is one of the most dangerous places to make purchases with your ATM card. It's susceptible at so many points. The consumer could have malware on their computer, so it could be at their endpoint that the data get compromised. The fundamental problem with using debit cards online is it's impossible to know who is handling your information.
  4. Restaurants. Any place where the card is out of your hand can increase the chances of fraud. The server comes to your table, takes your card and disappears for a while, so he or she has privacy. This gives the person the opportunity to copy your card information. Even using debit cards to order delivery can be risky because cashiers tend to keep customer payment information on file. That may make future orders more convenient, but small businesses rarely take the steps necessary to safeguard payment information, she says.