most debit card fraud is done with Skimmers allow your bank card information to get hacked just for banking at the wrong ATM

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Debit card compromises are up dramatically, so watch where you put your card

All you wanted to do was get a pack of gum and some cashback, But you ended up with your data getting stolen and being the latest victim of debit card fraud .

Technology analytics company FICO says that stolen debit card information shot up 70 percent from this time last year. ATMs and other card readers saw a 30 percent rise in compromises this year; After a six-fold increase the year before.

The good news: You’re not doing anything wrong. The bad news: There’s not a whole lot you can do about it.

“The issue is not necessarily the consumers but more to do with the technology and know-how of the fraudsters,” says Michael Betron, senior director of product management at FICO. “Good Bluetooth skimmers can be bought online for under $100, and the knowledge of how to skim has broadened.”

Because it’s cheap and easy to steal bank data straight from ATMs, scammers are never without work. From 2014 to 2015, there was a 546 percent increase in compromised ATMs. It rose another 30 percent from 2015 to 2016. It’s not always easy to detect scams, either.

“The technology has gotten so small and inconspicuous, it’s often difficult to detect the small skimming devices and cameras,” Betron says. “While the specific mechanisms sometimes change, the basic skimming episode involves devices which capture the magnetic stripe details as well as also recording/capturing the PIN.”

You’re going to get hacked

You may find it hard to believe, but if it doesn’t happen to you, getting scammed will happen to someone you know. And it could happen from any number of things, like your refrigerator and washing machine or hospital medical data. Medical records are stolen every single day, while 2,000 identities are being stolen daily from tax data. It’s less of a question of if you get hacked and more of a question of when and what do I do? If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you may know someone that it has happened to. Others misfortune with identity theft may impact you too.

So what are you supposed to look out for to avoid getting scammed?

Betron says that most of the compromises happened at non-bank ATMs, so pay attention to where you put your card. The added convenience comes with an added cost — aside from the out-of-network fees.

Safety Tips to Avoid Debit Card Fraud

“We suspect that non-bank ATMs are more susceptible because sometimes there is less security — people and cameras — than at bank ATMs and merchant point of sale devices,” he says. Sixty percent of all breaches were non-bank ATMs.

Also, do your best to think about where you are and the machine you’re using before using it.

“If the ATM looks odd, or your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly, consider going somewhere else for your cash,” Betron says. “If you have completed a transaction and suspect your card or PIN may have been compromised, contact your issuer immediately. Check your card transactions frequently using your online banking and monthly statement.”

Be sure to check your surroundings. If anyone is lurking around you or the machine, don’t use it.

The quickest way to check your account is online, where all your completed and pending transactions are listed. If you notice anything funky, call your bank right away. The best thing you can do is stop the scammer from continuing the debit card fraud. Getting a new card immediately stops the old one from being used.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Credit & Debt, Tech

credit cards, identity theft, scams, theft

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