Dangerous Places to Use Your Debit Card

January 15, 2014, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Consumers are understandably reluctant to use their debit and credit cards due to the recent data breaches that have taken place at Target and Neiman Marcus. For some people though, using a debit card is a way of life, the only way they make a transaction. If you are going to swipe your card in the near future, you need to know which places pose the greatest risk of debit card theft. Here are three areas where you should be cautious:

  • ATMs: ATM machines are easy targets because thieves can place a skimming device inside the card reader. Then, all they have to do is download data about your card once you run it through the system. If possible, go inside your bank to withdraw money. In this way, you don’t have to worry about getting skimmed.
  • Restaurants: Some servers carry around special machines that store card information on them. All they have to do is swipe your card once without you watching, and they can have a shopping spree at home at your expense. Some restaurants also keep card data on file long after you have finished paying for your meal. Pay in cash or with a prepaid card where possible, and keep an eye on the person holding your card.
  • Gas Stations: Gas stations are much like ATMs and thieves have targeted gas stations for quite some time. The machines could contain a skimming device. Some thieves will also install cameras at a gas station to record your PIN when you pay at the pump. Try to cover your hand while entering this information, or just go inside to make a payment. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Knowing the risks in using your debit card can make you a smarter cardholder. Be careful who you trust with your account information, and your money has a much greater chance of being protected.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 15, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
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