First it was the dollar bill. Then the convenience of checks came about. Then it was that little piece of plastic with a magnetic strip to make all of our purchases both in person or in the actual store. Those little cards, either debit or credit, have become a big source of talk over the last few months, especially since the Target system breech when millions of cards’ information were obtained by hackers. Are they safe? With the right protections, you should be able to feel confident (for the most part) when using your debit card.
For starters, let it be noted that using a debit card right now in a public place is slowing becoming a free offer to thefts as many stores and restaurants use Windows XP on their POS systems. As Microsoft no longer supports (as in they won’t update) the OS (Operating System), this means that as the holes in the system become exposed, the easier it is for hackers to obtain access to these systems. The solution? If you can’t avoid using your card(s) in these situations, try signing up for a service that sends you texts when you make a purchase with your card, or download your banking app so that you can see each purchase you make.
If you are using an ATM, make sure it is in a secured area, not isolated, and it by a trusted source, such as a bank or a credit union. Commonly ATMs are becoming collecting grounds for thieves looking for your information, placing skimmers and cameras over the pin pads to obtain your data. Always try to be discrete when typing in your password (put your hand over your typing hand).
And of course, when buying online, make sure you have a STRONG password. It is recommended that you change your password every six months, and if you haven’t done so in a while, do it now. About a month ago, there was a flaw called “Heartbleed” released, which basically exposed all your data, passwords, and information on almost every website to anyone who felt like spending a little time to obtain it. Also, never save debit cards on accounts like Amazon in case your account is hacked.
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