checking

4 risky places to swipe your debit card

Debit Cards » Best Prepaid Debit Cards »

Stealing PINs at gas stations
Stealing PINs at gas stations © Jake Hellbach / Fotolia

Stealing PINs at gas stations

Gas stations are another danger zone for debit card use.

"You go to a gas station and you stick your debit card in there, and you swipe it through a machine," Abagnale says. "I'm sitting across the street with a laptop and an antenna. I put a skimmer in there, and I'm picking up all the information. Before you even get home, I've debited your account."

Gas station payment terminals have many of the characteristics card fraudsters love, McNelley says.

"In a gas station where you do have a whole bunch of pay-at-the-pump kinds of things and minimal supervision, it's pretty easy for a bad guy to put a skimming device on and put a little pinpoint camera there and compromise debit cards that way," McNelley says. Thieves often use small cameras to capture footage of debit card users entering their PINs so they can have free access to their money.

She says even if the thief doesn't manage to get your debit card personal identification number, or PIN, from such a device, he still may be able to duplicate the card's magnetic strip and use it for "sign and swipe" Visa or MasterCard transactions.

With the high potential for fraud in pay-at-the-pump debit transactions, it might make sense to use an alternative such as cash or credit cards the next time you fill up.

advertisement

Places to park your cash Choosing the right bank accounts can mean bigger returns over the long run. Here's what to keep in mind.
Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
advertisement
7 questions before choosing a checking account
advertisement
Partner Center
advertisement

Connect with us