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Despite the roll out of those annoying little chips in credit cards and businesses utilizing chip-readers for debit and credit card purchases, FICO has reported that debit card fraud rose by 10 percent in 2017.
The data shows that the thieves are getting better at stealing credit card numbers, including those tied to debit cards. The data is downright scary. For consumers, having a credit card number compromised is one thing, but a debit card number theft can cause serious havoc in a person’s life.
The Danger of Debit
For individuals who rely on their debit cards and live paycheck to paycheck, getting their debit card hacked means that the bank account tied to the card has been compromised, and that could result in a domino effect. Because banks may take a couple weeks to refund you your money, falling behind on bills and other regular payments, or potentially bouncing checks, could result in further financial harm.
Additionally, if you have a savings account that can be reached via the debit card, or through an overdraft protection service, you may want to consider limiting that debit card’s usage.
How to Charge Safely
While many consumers rely on debit cards because of a lack of credit, generally, experts advise against using debit cards whenever possible, particularly debit cards tied to bank or checking accounts.
Traditional credit cards provide consumers better protection against fraudulent purchases, and come with the added benefit of not being tied to your bank account, meaning that scammers aren’t actually stealing the money you have in the bank.
But credit card users still need to be careful, not just of their own spending, but also that their accounts do not get compromised. If your credit card bill is set to auto-pay, it can be easy to forget about. However, consumers should review credit card bills regularly to ensure that they recognize all the charges, as companies generally have a time limit within which you have to contest charges.
If you do find charges you don’t recognize, notifying your bank or credit card company immediately is probably a good idea.