The riskiest place to swipe your debit or credit card

It's a convenience many of us take for granted, a quick swipe of our credit or debit card to make a purchase.  

It was like that for Kalla Debrosse until a scammer skimmed her card.  

The next time she checked her bank account online she discovered transactions she hadn't made.

"There was $400 at Walmart, $100 at Walmart, $100 at QuikTrip," said Debrosse.

A total of $1,200 had been taken directly from her bank account.

"I'm a single mother so just getting paid and having $1,200 taken out of your account on payday it was just a nightmare," said Debrosse.

And her card was in her wallet the whole time.

She paid for takeout at a fast food restaurant with her debit card. A former employee of the restaurant is accused of using a device called a skimmer to steal her account information.

What's a skimmer?

It's "a reader-writer. It reads the mag stripe on your card and then it writes it onto another card so you've got a card in hand," said Elaine Dodd, of the Oklahoma Bankers Association Fraud Division.

Certain locations are more popular for scammers looking to place skimmers.

"If it's outside they're more likely to be able to put a skimmer on that," said Dodd.

That of course makes swiping your card at an outdoor ATM or pay-at-the-pump gas station among the riskiest places to pay with plastic.

Restaurants are also on the list because a server has access to your card and could be using a skimmer, as suspected in Debrosse's situation.
    
Shopping online is considered high risk especially if you're not familiar with the site.

And businesses that keep your account information on hand to make future purchases easier may also put you at risk. If the business is hacked your information is compromised.

"It's just unfortunate that it came to this to be informed, I've never heard of this type of scam before," said Debrosse.
    
Knowing the risk, your best defense is keeping a close eye on your finances.

"Some people don't look at statements but once a month," said Dodd. "And I can't understand that, having seen what I've seen."
    
Dodd suggests that you should check your bank and credit card accounts several times a week and report incorrect charges immediately.

"You'll always be made whole as long as you've notified them within, generally, a 60-day window," said Dodd.
    
After a couple of weeks Debrosse's bank did put $1,200 back in her account. But she's still dealing with being victimized. 

"It was, hurtful to think here I'm a single mother raising two children and someone, they don't know who the victims are, these scammers," said Debrosse.

Since Debrosse filed a police report four people have been arrested, accused of stealing hundreds of debit and credit card numbers, then using those numbers to re-code other cards.

Credit cards give you more protection because even if they're skimmed at least cash isn't being taken directly  from your bank.

Dodd recommends the website Krebs on Security for more information on skimmers. The website SCAMADVISOR.com rates online shopping sites for security.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Read More

Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say

A Pensacola woman, Ashley Taylor Wright, has been arrested after authorities say they tried arrest her for shoplifting and she threw the baby at a deputy as she tried to escape.

Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him

A Tennessee man found this out the hard way when a woman dipped in his pool, naked, as her husband robbed his home.

Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft

Putnam County investigators say it was "fowl" play when three young men stole a giant chicken.

Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated

A man in Fort Pierce said he used his "powers of invisibility" to abscond with a carton of menthol cigarettes, but his conscience appears to have gotten the best of him.

David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say

A Golden Gate Estates, Florida man was arrested Monday after Collier County sheriff's deputies say he broke into a woman's house, left her love notes and took photos of himself with her underwear on his head.

Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears

Authorities say two Florida brothers got into a tussle over missing macaroni and cheese that ended with one stabbing the other in the stomach.

Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store

For years, Wayne Brandenburg shopped at his local Wal-Mart three or four times a week. He never thought he'd pick up a wife, or marry her, there. But that's exactly what happened.

Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials

Video of a man jumping on two manatees prompts legal investigation.

Filomena Tobias flips off Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls player, paper reports Filomena Tobias flips off Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls player, paper reports

The woman has been identified as Filomena Tobias, widow of CNBC commentator Seth Tobias, of Jupiter.

Etta Lopez accused of slapping deputy to help her quit smoking; charged with assualting an officer Etta Lopez accused of slapping deputy to help her quit smoking; charged with assualting an officer

California woman slaps sheriff's deputy to quit smoking