(CBS) — All these recent credit card hacks might have you wondering what to do. CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker says it all begins with a simple question.
It was debit over credit in nearly half of the $110 billion consumers spent in 2011, according to the latest figures.
But is debit the safest choice?
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that the most vulnerable aspect of your financial life is using your debit card,” said CBS 2 security consultant Ross Rice. “Your debit card in most cases is tied directly to your bank account.
Which means when retailers are hacked, thieves have access to your debit card information and if they hit your debit card, the funds are not insured and the banks are not obligated to refund the money, according to Rice.
So the message from Rice: Be very careful with your debit card and put a cap on it.
“Limit the amount that you have in it to maybe to 50 or 100 dollars so that would be the maximum amount of your loss,” says Rice.
Only use ATM’s that are connected to banks and avoid the independent ones found small retailers.
Rice says thieves target these private ATM with special devices called skimmers that steal your debit card information.
“The owner of the gas station or restaurant isn’t going to be too concerned with one ATM machine they have in the corner of the restaurant,” said Rice.
And finally, just like your credit card, check your statements often and look don’t just look for big charges as it’s the little ones crooks like.