Recent reports of debit and credit card fraud might have you afraid to use anything but cash. Identity thieves use more than just the Internet to gather data about potential victims. Even places you think are safe could still lead to theft. Learn how to protect yourself from some less commonly known card-stealing tactics.
You might not know that ATMs are a good source for identity thieves. When you scan your card in the machine, a reader grabs the card information. Identity thieves can place scanners on ATM machines that steal card data unbeknownst to the card owner. The best way to protect yourself from this trick is to only use an indoor ATM machine. Instead of using the drive-in ATM, use the ATM inside of the bank.
Restaurants That Keep Credit Cards on File
Your favorite restaurant might be insecure with your data and not even realize it. Some restaurants keep your credit card on file. The next time you call to order delivery, ask the hostess or waitress if she has your number on file. Having your number on file is a convenience for the restaurant in case you leave after forgetting to pay your bill. However, it leaves your number open to anyone who has access to the company computer, which is usually all the restaurant staff.
Phishing websites aren’t an unknown way to get your data, but new phishing sites pop up every day. One recent phishing scam pointed users to a website that used Google Docs. The Google Doc displayed an image that looked like the official Google login page. Unfortunately, that page was a phishing page for login information. Using your email credentials, an identity thief could then log in and reset passwords for websites such as your banking or credit card company. The end result was that the identity thief had access to financial data without the victim knowing when or how he got it.
Gas station risks are similar to the outdoor ATM risks, but gas stations make it easier for a criminal to install a card reader. At night, there is little attendance at a gas station, and no one notices if a thief spends too much time at a gas pump. You can avoid this theft technique by paying for gas indoors instead of using the pump.
These are four dangerous places for credit card and debit theft, but you don’t have to walk around paranoid. Be smart about where you swipe your card and always avoid entering your user name and password after clicking a link in an email.