Friday, May 20, 2005

Debit Cards: target of choice for thieves

Debit cards are as good as cash money to crooks. Sandra Block of USA Today, "Your Money," points out one of the big pitfalls of debit cards:

To protect yourself from identity theft, hold your credit cards close, and your debit cards closer.

Armed with the right information, thieves can use your debit card to make fraudulent charges or withdraw money from your bank account. You may not know you've been victimized until your mortgage check bounces. Cleaning up the mess could take months.

...debit cards don't carry the same legal protections as credit cards.

Debit card users also have to worry about another unique threat called "skimming." Skimming occurs when thieves set up a device that captures the magnetic stripe and keypad information from ATM machines and gas pumps.

links:
Thieves love debit cards, so keep them safe — here's how [USA Today, May 9, 2005]
Skimming and Scamming - How to Protect Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud [American Bankers Assoc.]
Plastic Fraud-Getting a Handle on Debit and Credit Cards [Federal Reserve]

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