One difference between a credit card and a debit card is that if there’s an unauthorized charge on your credit card, you just get a little sting. It’s a hassle to straighten out. But no money is taken from you.
But if someone gets ahold of your debit card information, the second they use it, depending on the nature of the transaction, your bank account will be drained. And in some cases, you can kiss that money goodbye; you got scorched. More than ever, crooks are using others’ debit card data and sucking dry their bank accounts via ATMs—in an instant.
An article on blogs.wsj.com outlines the differences between a credit card and a debit card:
- Federal law protects you from unauthorized charges made with your credit card number rather than with the actual card.
- In the event the credit card is in a thief’s hands, you’ll be liable, but only for a maximum of $50, provided you report the problem to the credit card company. However, in many cases a “zero liability” policy may kick in.
- Debit cards fall under a different federal law than credit cards. Regulation E, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, says after two days, you could be liable for up to $50. After 2 days liability jumps to 500.00. Beyond 60 days, you could be liable for all unauthorized transactions. Otherwise, federal rules are on the bank’s side.
- Beyond 60 days, there’s likelihood you’ll never see your money again.
How does the thief get one’s card information in the first place?
- The thief places a “skimmer” in the swiping device of an ATM or other location such as a gas pump or even the swiping device at a checkout counter. The skimmer snatches card data when the card is swiped.
- The thief returns at some point and retrieves the skimmer, then makes a fake card.
- Thieves may capture PINs with hidden cameras focused on the ATMs keys. So when entering PINs, conceal the activity with your free hand.
- A business employee, to whom you give your card to purchase something, may be the thief. He disappears from your sight with your card to swipe it at some unseen location. While away from you, he skims the data.
- The thief sends out mass e-mails designed to look like they’re from the recipient’s bank, the IRS or retailers. The message lures the recipient into clicking a link inside the e-mail.
- The link takes them to a site set up by the thief, further luring the victim into typing in their card’s information.
- The thief calls the victim, pretending to be the IRS or some big outfit, and lures the recipient into giving out card information.
It’s obvious, then, there are many things that can go wrong. Your best solution is to pay close attention to your statements, online or via a mobile app, frequently.
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
- Carders cashing out on Magstrip Cards
Two thousand credit card payment terminals stand to become infected with malware called Trinity point of sales. Ten million credit cards were stolen by hackers, called Fin6, who may end up scoring $400 million. The cards were stolen from retail and hospitality businesses. If each card sells for $21 on secret carder shops, you can see
- Debit Cards Fraud Means Difficult Recovery
There are 437,000,000 debit cards in circulation, and their use is on the rise. Criminal hackers are paying attention. Credit cards offer some measure of protection when it comes to “zero liability policies,” as long as the cardholder refutes the charges within 60 days. But when a debit card is compromised, the stolen money is
- “Flash Attacks” Make Big Money for Debit and Credit Card Scammers
The latest ATM scam is so brilliantly simple, it’s hard to believe that it actually works. Apparently, banks’ fraud detection systems are unable to flag nearly simultaneous transactions from the same account. This leaves bank customers vulnerable to what’s been termed a “flash attack,” in which multiple scanners use a stolen debit card number to
- Why Debit Cards Are a Nightmare
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Not all plastics cards are created equal. The major differences in credit vs. debit is in the protections (or lack of protections) that come along with the fine print. A debit card is connected directly to a person’s bank account and when compromised can devastate your bank balance. I know too
- What is ATM Skimming?
Ever hear of a crime called skimming? It may not be as dramatic a crime as assault or Ponzi schemes, but it can cause significant problems to you as your savings account can be wiped out in a flash. Picture a scrawny nerd tampering with an automated teller machine (ATM)—the machine you use with your debit