A debit card gives you the convenience of paying in cash without having to carry wads of it around. Unfortunately, it also opens you up to debit card fraud. FICO reports that in 2016 the number of compromised debit cards increased by 70%, while the number of compromised ATMs and merchant terminals increased by 30%. That’s why it’s important for you to know how to protect your debit card.
Here are some of the risks to your debit account, along with some tips on avoiding them.
A card skimmer is a device thieves attach to a card reader to steal cards’ information and either store it or send it to the thief. While skimmers were once large, clunky devices that were relatively easy to spot, today’s skimmers are often tiny devices hidden inside the card reader itself. Skimmers are best known for appearing in ATMs, but gas pumps are another popular target. Because pumps have been given a three-year extension to install chip card readers (which are far more secure than the old magnetic stripe readers), they’ll be at risk of skimming at least until 2020.
When using your card at an ATM or gas pump, check first for any strange protrusions or attachments to the card reader. Some gas pumps have a security seal sticker that will be broken if someone has accessed the inside of the card reader; never use your card at such a pump. And if your card fails to emerge from an ATM or other card reader, call your bank immediately and report it, because some skimmers will grab a card and keep it for the thief to later retrieve.
There’s also a new app for Android phones called Skimmer Scanner, which can detect skimmers based on the Bluetooth component that many of these devices use. Using this app to check out card readers before you insert your card can protect you from some skimmers, though it’s not a sure thing.
Some skimmers are nearly impossible to detect, so for good measure, you should always…