Experts warn of riskiest places to use debit cards

Experts warn of riskiest places to use debit cards

Experts warn of riskiest places to use debit cards

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by Teresa Blackman, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 27 at 2:29 PM

NEW YORK, NY -- A new report from Bankrate.com names the four riskiest places you could possibly use your debit card.

Financial security experts said the most dangerous place to use your debit card is for purchases online. 

"Buying stuff online, you have to be careful because you have to know who you're doing business with," Frank Abagnale, a secure-document consultant in Washington, D.C., said in the Bankrate report.

Outdoor ATMs and gas station terminals were also high on the consumer warning list.

Chris McGoey, a security consultant based in Los Angeles, said outdoor 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.

"Any transaction you do outdoors at an open ATM is going to be higher risk exposure," McGoey said, in the Bankrate report. "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 advised using an ATM inside a retail outlet or other high-traffic area instead.

Experts said you’re also taking a risk every time you hand your debit card over to a server in a restaurant, or any other time you let it out of your sight.

The best advice: Use cash or a credit card instead.

Debit cards look like credit cards, but because money is drawn directly from a checking account, they can give thieves direct access to your money.

More: Bankrate report

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